First Firefighters’ Memorial Day held
Fire crews across the UK held a minute’s silence for firefighters who have died on duty on 4 May.
The event was organised by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and the Firefighters Memorial Trust, with the event consisting of a minute’s silence and parade across station forecourts. Since records began, 2,486 firefighters have died on duty, and the FBU stated that the aim of the memorial – which will take place on 4 May annually from now on - was to ‘remember the fallen, comfort their families and pay respect to the profession’.
The FBU commented: ‘This is a day when members of the public and the fire and rescue service are invited to remember the selfless professionals who run toward danger, when others are running away. This a day to remember the fallen, comfort their families and pay respect to the profession.’
Susan Veevers, mother of late Manchester firefighter Stephen Hunt, who died on duty in 2013, said: ‘Families like ours who have suffered these terrible bereavements will welcome the introduction of an annual memorial day for their loved ones.
‘Stephen and all the other firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty deserve to be remembered and respected formally, and we very much hope that as many fire stations as possible around the country will observe a minute’s silence in their honour, this Thursday and on the 4th of May every year from now on.’
Linda Williamson, mother of late Edinburgh firefighter Ewan Williamson, who died whilst tackling a fire in 2009, added: ‘We as a family who have suffered such a devastating loss welcome the introduction of a Firefighters’ Memorial Day. After all it could have been any one of you on duty at the time. Firefighters everywhere should remember their fallen colleague my son Ewan forever.’
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, commented: ‘Firefighters Memorial Day is about honouring the courage and bravery of the men and women of the fire service. These are highly skilled professionals who selflessly put themselves in the line of danger to protect others. We owe them so much, and this is a day to remember what they give their communities.
'Firefighters understand the risks associated with their job but they do expect to come home safe after each shift. Sadly, this is not always the case. It’s important that none of us forget the sacrifice these men and women have made in order to keep people safe. We hope this day will bring comfort and strength to the families and loved ones of those who have been lost.’
Colin Livett, chair of the Firefighters Memorial Trust, said: ‘Fire does not distinguish between men, women or children - race, religion or creed. Neither do firefighters, they answer the call and do their duty. Some pay the ultimate sacrifice.’