Firefighting is a family business

Hodnet firefighters and their employers|Retired farmer and firefighter Roderick Ashley, wife Shirley and granddaughter Lucy (7) with station manager Steve Palin receiving their award from Stuart West|Firefighting brothers l. to r. Tom, Jonathan and Phillip with parents Thomas and Jean Benbow|

Farming is a family tradition in Shropshire - as is firefighting.

Many of the county's retained fire crews in rural Shropshire come from farming families - some going back generations - and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has thanked them for their service at a special "awards" ceremony held at Hodnet Fire Station.

Farmers and other county employers were praised for releasing staff to fight fires and rescue road crash victims.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond told nine employers - many family members from local farms - that the success of the county fire service was down to local businesses releasing their staff for emergency duties.

He said it was "a large thank you" to them and that without their support, fire crews would be unable to carry out their duties.

Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority chairman Stuart West presented plaques and certificates to nine employers.

He said: "You are contributing to the safety of the people of Shropshire. Without your support we would not have a decent fire service."

Retired farmer Roderick Ashley, a former retained firefighter, and his wife Shirley have farmed in the area all their lives following a family tradition going back centuries. They were thanked for allowing farmer Steve Palin to attend firefighting duties for 30 years at Hodnet where he is the station manager.

Retired farmer Arthur Fox and wife Iva, of the Bury Farm, Weston, have a son Robert, a retained firefighter for 15 years.

"When he's called he goes and the tractor is left standing in the middle of the field. They do a wonderful service for their community. They are often the first on the scene and they are all highly trained. All credit to them. I am extremely proud of my son for being a retained firefighter."

Darren Lindsey, Commercial Director at Michelin Tyres, of Stoke, who employs firefighter Simon Deny, added: "They do a good job. I take my hat off to them."

Hodnet Fire Station is looking to recruit more retained firefighters. Call 01743 260 200 for more information

29th October, 2007