News

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COURIER ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING PETE WIXEY FOUND NOT GUILTY  (13/08) 

The case against the Parcel Force driver accused of assaulting our member Pete Wixey was heard at Swindon Crown Court in July.  The driver was found not guilty.  Pete is disabled and has used crutches for years.  The jury chose to believe that Pete’s injuries resulted from him falling off his crutches.  Pete wore his Fire Brigade Long Service & Good Conduct Medal in court.  The defence barrister asked the judge to have Pete hide his medal from the jury’s view.  Pete is still suffering from his fore arm injury and has been told he must wear a fore arm splint until the end of this year.

FIRE SPRINKLER SEMINAR IN SALISBURY  (06/08) 

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service is working with the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association to hold an all-day seminar on 19th September 2018 in the Guild Hall at Salisbury.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANT WARNED ABOUT SAFETY  (06/08) 

The Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield, Berkshire has been warned by the Nuclear Regulation Authority that it must improve safety standards or risk the plant being shut down.

The factory manufactures and maintains nuclear weapons.

UK FIRE SERVICE “IN CRISIS” CLAIMS FBU  (01/08) 

The Daily Mirror published on 1st August 2018 carried a two page spread giving details and statistical information on the cuts that have been imposed on the UK fire & rescue service. The article carries a claim by the Fire Brigades Union that the service is in crisis and increased attendance times at emergencies are giving cause for concern. The FBU has supplied the information that the Chief Fire Officer of Surrey, Russell Pearson, very recently left his post and the FBU alleges that he was sacked because he refused to make any further cuts to the service.

DAVID BERRY VERY ILL  (13/07)

The news that Dave Berry is very ill in hospital in Cheltenham has just reached us.  Dave began as a fireman at Ramsbury and then converted from retained to fulltime service at Swindon.  He then joined the London Fire Brigade and progressed to become the ADC to the Fire Commissioner.

We are in touch with Dave’s family and are sending best wishes to him and to them.

CAR TAX—DIRECT DEBIT PROBLEM  (15/07) 

Someone is using the WRFA to pay for their car tax by direct bank debit!  The vehicle involved is a white BMW registered in 2011 number WD11 EHZ.  If this is your car, please get in touch with the WRFA secretary/treasurer immediately. John Craig 01380 726343.

Lloyds Bank has been informed and an investigation is in progress hoping to identify the perpetrator within days and indemnify the WRFA for the monthly payments of just over £25.00 that have been leaving our bank account in error since May.

The DVLA is also involved and knows that the name on the incorrect (fraudulent?) direct debit is not that of this Association although the Data Protection Act is stopping the agency revealed the signatory to the direct debit.  Rest assured that the police will be notified immediately if the investigation reveals any suggestion of deliberate fraud but hopefully we are simply the victim of an innocent mistake

DEATH OF GRAHAM BIRT  (12/07)

We regret to announce the death of Graham Birt, a former wholetime firefighter who served at Swindon fire station.  He had been suffering poor health for the past two years.  Graham passed away on Sunday 8th July with his family around him.

The funeral was held on Thursday 2nd August 2018 at at Kingsdown Crematorium, Stratton St Margaret.

DEATH OF GRACE NASH  (05/07)

With much sorrow the death of GRACE NASH is announced. Grace passed away on the morning of 4th July 2018 aged 86 in Gloucester Hospital.  She had been married to Joe for 67 years.

Our condolences have been sent to Joe and his family.  The funeral was held on Monday 30th July, at St Bartholomew’s Church, High Street, Royal Wootton Bassett.

SPIRIT OF FIRE AWARD TO CHRIS WANNELL  (26/06)

At last week’s SPIRITS OF FIRE AWARDS ceremony run by the Fire Fighters Charity.  Our own Chairman, CHRIS WANNELL, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, arguably the most important and prestigious award of them all. The award was kept secret from Chris until the moment of presentation by Nick Owen, the TV celebrity and broadcaster.  If you haven’t yet done so, you are recommended to log onto Facebook and view the online video of the presentation ceremony and, in particular, the video film made to honour Chris.  We are so proud of you, Chris.  A richly deserved honour.

GRENFELL INQUIRY EXPOSING SERIOUS WEAKNESSES IN LFB  (26/06) 

The Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster is beginning to probe deeply into the actions of the London Fire Brigade and in doing so has al-ready uncovered some facts that the media has pounced upon as showing the Brigade falling short of its duty to protect Londoners.  The ‘stay put’ policy was inappropriate for the situation at the disaster but LFB is alleged to have been too late in realising this which resulted in some that could have safely evacuated themselves being lost to the flames.

More recently, a watch manager giving evidence has revealed an appalling inadequacy in the training of fire crews in how to deal with a high rise fire.  He has also admitted that he inspected the building months before the disaster but failed to recognise or comment upon the considerable number of fire safety hazards at Grenfell Tower.  The Fire Commissioner, Dany Cotton, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, are going to have to answer to the people of the city for the failures of their fire brigade.

‘MARTHA’ NEEDS REPAIR  (26/06)

The 1943 veteran turntable ladder owned and preserved by Chris Wannell has broken down.  She needs a new engine.  This is a bit of a “poor do” really because the Austin K2 engine that has failed was only 75 years old ! ! !  This lovely old machine has been lovingly christened ‘Martha’ by Chris and his family. She started life in the Longbridge works in 1943 and originally served with the NFS in Essex and then on denationalisation she was purchased by Somerset Fire Brigade and did yeoman service in Bridgwater.  After Chris rescued her from a scrapyard and restored her, Martha has raised tens of thousands of pounds for the FIRE FIGHTERS CHARITY Chris is determined to get Martha fit and well again as soon as possible.  A replacement engine is on its way from New Zealand.  Get well soon, Martha!