Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex, has officially opened Wokingham Fire Station.
The Countess was received by Cllr Peter Lucey, Mayor of Wokingham Town; Cllr Colin Dudley, Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority; Iain Cox, Chief Fire Officer of Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service; and Tregear Thomas, Station Manager at Wokingham Fire Station, before being given a behind the scenes tour of the fire station.
During the tour, the Countess met firefighters carrying out equipment checks in the appliance bay, talked to junior officers about their roles in the watch room and watched other crew members taking part in a professional training session.
The Countess was also given an informal briefing by Assistant Chief Fire Officer Paul Southern about the unique challenges faced by the brigade during the Swinley Forest incident. She then spent some time chatting with members of white watch about their experiences as firefighters.
The Countess was introduced to some of Wokingham's retired firefighters and Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue support staff, before being invited to unveil a commemorative plaque to mark the occasion. Station Manager Thomas then presented the Countess with two framed photographs of the Swinley forest fire as a memento of her visit.
Chief Fire Officer, Iain Cox, said: "It was a great honour to welcome Her Royal Highness to officially open the station and it was also a milestone for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service, as Wokingham is the first fire station to be built in Berkshire for nearly 20 years.
"The Countess quickly put everyone at ease and was very interested to hear about our work, particularly the challenges presented by the Swinley forest fire. It was a very special occasion and one that we will remember for a long time."