News

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DEATHS FROM SEPSIS INCREASING RAPIDLY  (19/01) 

Research is now showing that SEPSIS kills more people globally than cancer. The number of sepsis deaths per year in the UK has been recorded as 48,000 and the number of cases is rising significantly every year. This means that more people die from sepsis than from cancer.

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GRENFELL ADVISOR APPOINTMENT CRITICISED  (19/01) 

The fears of survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster that the Public Inquiry will become a “whitewash” that will shield the guilty received enhancement when Benita Mehra was recently appointed to assist the judge conducting the inquiry.

Ms Mehra is alleged to have run a body that received £71,000 from the American company that made the cladding for Grenfell Tower. The concern is that this link between Miss Mehra and a company that ought to be placed under careful scrutiny by the inquiry renders her unable to act without prejudice and give unbiased advice to the judge. A Cabinet Office reply to the concerns indicates that no link is perceived between the donation and the matters under investigation by the inquiry.

DEATH OF RUTH CRUDGE  (13/01)

We regret to announce the death of Ruth Crudge yesterday morning.  Ruth was the partner of the late Bert Goodship who retired as Brigade Training Officer of WFB.

Her funeral will be held on Wednesday 29th January 2020, commencing 2.00pm at St Andrews Church, Long Street, Devizes.

AUSTRALIAN WILDFIRES  (06/01) 

At the request of our Chairman, Chris Wannell, a letter has been sent from the WRFA to the Australian High Commissioner in London expressing our admiration for the work being done by the rural fire services in Australia at this time of unprecedented wildfire crisis. The letter expresses our sympathy to those who are the bereaved relatives of the three firefighters who have died fighting the fires.

As our letter was being sent word arrived from Chrissie Hodges, a widow member of the WRFA living in New Zealand. Chrissie reports that despite the distance involved smoke from the Australian fires has drifted over to NZ and turned the sky an eerie orange colour and created a pervasive smell of smoke.

DEATH OF ARTHUR HAYWARD  (02/01)

We regret to announce the death of Arthur Hayward, who served as a cleaner at BHQ Potterne.

His funeral was held at Kingsdown Crematorium, Swindon on Monday 20th January 2020.
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LUDO AWARDED MBE  (28/12)

It was a distinct pleasure to learn that our WRFA colleague, Ludo Macaulay,  has been honoured with the MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.  The award has been made for voluntary service to the community and the Firefighters’ Charity (Wiltshire).

A full report can be found in the January 2020 edition of THE BRANCH.  Heartiest congratulations to Ludo.

THE DEATH OF GEORGE JOHNSON BEM  (27/12) & (03/01)

With much sadness the death is reported of GEORGE JOHNSON BEM, one of the WRFA’s oldest members.  George died on the night of 24th/25th December.

George served with great distinction at Marlborough and retired as a retained Sub Officer.  For his outstanding service he was awarded the British Empire Medal. George was a keen supporter of the WRFA and did his best to attend our social events even when he was over 90 years of age. He will be sorely missed.  Rest in peace, George.

The funeral was held on Friday 10th January 2020 at North Wilts Crematorium.

Speaking to Lynn Blake, George’s niece who made the arrangements, it was her idea to make us the beneficiary of the donations because she knew her Uncle George thought so much of WRFA.

The funeral was conducted by Canon Henry Pearson who was able to administer the last rites to George hours before he answered his last call.  Chris Wannell kindly agreed to the use of his veteran turntable ladder, ‘Martha’, to carry George on his last “shout”.

HOMELESS & LONELY DENIED FREE CHRISTMAS DINNER  (27/12) 

A few years ago the personnel of TROWBRIDGE FIRE STATION took the commendable decision to provide a free Christmas Dinner on the fire station for the lonely and homeless folk of the town and district.  The dinner became so popular that after several years the demand for places outgrew the space available on the fire station and the WILTSHIRE COUNCIL stepped in and offered the use of the atrium at County Hall.  For the last few years the free dinner has been held there very successfully with Trowbridge Fire Station playing an active part in its organisation.

This year the dinner had to be cancelled due to difficulties that were reported in the press as being of a logistical nature.  The denial of the dinner to the town’s needy folk has attracted bitter criticism much of which has been published in the local press.

DEATH OF PETER JESSEN  (11/12) 

The sad news has been announced that PETER JESSEN, former firefighter at Swindon, has passed away age 91. His funeral service was held on 23rd December 2019 at Kingsdown Crematorium.

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AVON FRS DOES FEWER FIRE INSPECTIONS  (25/11) 

The Home Office has published its findings that the AVON FIRE & RESCUE SERVICE has done less fire safety inspections than any of the other major fire services in the UK.  Only the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight did less inspections last year.  Avon FRS recorded just 127 fire safety inspections.

This is being attributed to the reduction in inspection resources caused by the over £14m cut that the fire authority has made in its budget over the past decade.

WATER RESCUE UNIT AT TROWBRIDGE UNDER THREAT  (18/11)

Dorset & Wiltshire FRS personnel serving at Trowbridge have spoken to the press about their concerns that the Water Rescue Unit at Trowbridge Fire Station may be removed.  This has sparked a strong reaction and the editorial of the Wiltshire Times published on 14th November carries a stinging criticism of the decision to even place the unit under review. 

Choosing strong words to express the paper’s opinion, the editorial leaves readers in no doubt that if even just one life is lost as a result of the unit being disbanded the media will hold the management of the FRS to account.  Andy Cole is quoted as stating that the final decision has not yet been made.

2020 STATE PENSION INCREASE  (04/11) 

The Department of Work & Pensions has announced that the UK State Pension will be increased by 3.9% from April 2020. This is the largest increase for 8 years.

The fire pension increase is expected to be in line with the September 2019 Consumer Price Index figure which is 1.7%. However, this has yet to be announced officially.