Hertfordshire's Chief Fire Officer has been presented to the Japanese Emperor and Empress so that they could thank him personally for the UK's role in carrying out search and rescue following last year's earthquake.

CFO Roy Wilsher, who led the International USAR team in Japan searching for earthquake survivors, visited the Japanese Embassy last week as part of the Empress's visit to the UK for the Queens Diamond Jubilee.

The Emperor and Empress asked to meet people in the UK, especially to thank those who supported Japan after the earthquake.

CFO Wilsher said: "To be invited to this event is a great honour for me and for
Hertfordshire. I am extremely proud of the rescue teams and the work we accomplished in helping Japan and its people recover from this disaster. To receive the thanks of the Emperor and Empress on behalf of the country's people is very touching."

The ceremony was made even more poignant by the Italian Earthquake which hit the north of the country yesterday morning [20 May]

At least seven people died and more than 50 were injured when the quake struck in the early hours of Sunday.

The magnitude six tremor, centred north of Bologna, destroyed or badly damaged many historic buildings.

Italian officials say the priority is to find safe accommodation for an estimate 3,000 displaced people.

Wilsher's USAR team is likely to again be deployed to the scene in the coming days.

Posted 21/05/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com