Two couples who have shown outstanding support to Westlea fire station and its fundraising efforts for the Fire Fighters Charity have been recognised by Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service.
Chris and Audrey Wannell have loaned their vintage fire appliances to the Service for nearly 40 years, both for fundraising and display purposes. Each Christmas, one of their vehicles is used to transport Santa around the West Swindon area in support of the Fire Fighters Charity – with more than £80,000 raised over the years.
Len and Eve Benwell were actively involved in the restoration of the Service’s vintage Dennis F12 appliance over 20 years ago. The truck is hired out for weddings, proms and other events. Mr & Mrs Benwell have acted as treasurers for this since the outset, with all proceeds going to the Fire Fighters Charity.
Watch Manager Tim Elliott, the Wiltshire coordinator for the Fire Fighters Charity, said: “With Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service ceasing to exist as a single organisation from 1 April, when we go into the new Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, we thought it would be appropriate to publicly thank Chris, Audrey, Len and Eve for all their efforts for us over several decades.
“Both Chris and Len were firefighters with the Service, and it was fitting that the presentation was made by our outgoing Chief Fire Officer Simon Routh-Jones, who oversaw the building of Westlea fire station back in 1990.
“This is also a chance for us to mark the end of an era as Len and Eve are retiring from their involvement with our vintage appliance. However Chris and Audrey will be continuing to support our fundraising in the new combined Fire & Rescue Service. We are incredibly grateful to them all for their help over so many years.”
Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service comes into being. Click to read more