Baschurch has got its very own new fire engine â€“ and the village's firefighting force is proud of it.
With less than an hour before last night's (wed) ceremony to officially hand over the coveted new appliance, Baschurch firefighters were called to their first incident in Shrewsbury to act as a back up for the town's crews attending a river rescue.
But they were back in time for the 7pm ceremony with minutes to spare to give the new XL cab its second polish of the day ready for the handover.
Stuart West, chairman of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority said: "I am really pleased that Baschurch firefighters now have the best equipment possible to protect the people of north Shropshire."
Sub Officer Geoff Davies, with a 12 man crew, said: "We've been waiting for this for years. We have had a number of second hand fire appliances over the years but nothing like this. It is so good for morale."
The new vehicle, which replaces a 16-year-old engine, is part of a Â£1 million three year campaign to upgrade every appliance operating from Shropshire's 23 rural fire stations. Church Stretton, Hodnet and Bishop's Castle will be the final three stations to be upgraded in 2008 and early 2009.
"Out of 23 stations, 20 have now got their new eight seater cabs which improves safety for everyone. They are equipped with the best possible fire and rescue equipment to save lives," said Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor.
Baschurch parish councillor and retired firefighter John Lloyd said: "There is a lot of pride among firefighters which goes back through the generations. We all feel privileged to do this job and it is wonderful that they have this new fire appliance."
It will be used to attend fires, car crashes and other emergency call outs for the 3,000 population of Baschurch and used across a 15 mile radius of north Shropshire including Wem, Dovaston, Petton and Walford Heath.
Firefighters at the station which include HGV drivers, a fork lift truck trainer, pest controller, and a maintenance contractor, will also be trained to attend national emergencies when needed. The brigade still needs more firefighters able to attend call outs between 9am and 5pm during weekdays â€“ for more information about becoming a retained firefighter contact Shrewsbury fire HQ on 01743 260200.