Dual awards ceremony at Oswestry fire station

Mrs Emma Lloyd unveils the plaque commemorating the re-dedication of Oswestry fire station in memory of her late husband, councillor David Lloyd. She is pictured with Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor and station officer Mike Wilkinson.|Oswestry retained firefighters and their employers.|Oswestry employers with Oswestry fire station officer Mike Wilkinson. Left to right: Royal Mail's Pearl Webster, Dave Halford, of Jones of Oswestry; Jim Emmens, of Ellesmere College; Richard Burbidge HR Manager Angela Wagstaff; Esme Humphreys, of the Mortgage Company; Ken Brockless; and Gill Griffiths, of Griffiths Hire|

Oswestry fire station has been "re-dedicated" after a £35,000 upgrade in memory of county councillor David Lloyd who died earlier this year.

His widow Emma unveiled a plaque in his memory in a dual ceremony attended by Oswestry employers who were praised for their "valuable" contribution in releasing staff to carry out essential firefighting duties in the town which has the busiest rural station in the county.

Station officer Mike Wilkinson said the fire station at The Mount was 43-years-old and in "desperate" need of refurbishment. He praised the town's employers who allowed firefighters to turn out to emergencies.

"Without their help and support I don't know what would happen. We wouldn't be here," he said.

Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor said the refurbishment at the station was dedicated to the memory of David Lloyd, an independent councillor from Whittingham, and a member of the fire authority, which runs the fire service, for ten years.

"He was a very honest man who put the needs of firefighters first. He was a very valuable member of the fire authority and a decent man who we miss sorely indeed. We dedicate the refurbishment in David's memory and we will always remember him."

Councillor Phil Box said: "What a great man David was. His life was his public service without a shadow of a doubt and we will always miss him."

Oswestry's 19 firefighters have a variety of jobs including postman, engineer, shop assistant, production manager, warehouseman and financial advisor. Wearing a bleeper at work, they are given permission from their employers to race to an incident as soon as the emergency is raised.

All seven Oswestry employers who employ the retained crew each received a framed certificate congratulating them for their efforts.

Gill Griffiths, of Griffiths Hire said: "There may come a day when we all need them. We are glad you are there. Thank you."

Angela Griffiths, HR Manager at Richard Burbidge said: "It is really important to support the community. We have to make it work."

"Releasing staff for fire cover is a valuable contribution but it works two ways. Not only does the service and the community benefit but employers also win by having employees who are extremely well trained," added the fire chief.

Any employers who would volunteer to help the retained service by encouraging their staff to join the retained service should contact District Officer Phil Brooks at Shrewsbury fire HQ on 01743 260 200 or visit www.shropshirefire.gov.uk

After the ceremony employers were given a demonstration showing how quickly a chip pan can set on fire. Firefighters poured a single cup of water onto the blazing chip pan - which erupted engulfing the demonstration area in 10ft high flames.

Firefighters attend between 350 and 400 incidents in the Oswestry area each year including chip pan fires, kitchen fires, road crashes and house fires caused by careless smoking, people diverted away from cooking areas and through electrical faults.

Fires have consistently fallen for the past six years due to a concerted education campaign by the fire service which recommends that every home should have a working smoke alarm on each floor.

20th December, 2006