Shropshire fundraisers who collected more than £10,000 to fund a county charity mission to send much needed fire engines to Romania have been praised for their efforts by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Hundreds of people from across the county held car washes, cake sales, dress down days and auctions while sports clubs held bucket collections to raise the cash which will send four fire engines and a team of 14 volunteers to Romania next week. Their efforts will help replace "outmoded and cumbersome" equipment.

Villagers, pub regulars and top firms sponsored a fire engine each which will help save lives in remote areas of Romania, some an hour's drive away from the nearest fire station.

The four engines and volunteers were officially blessed at a traditional fire service ceremony performed by the Brigade Chaplain at the Shrewsbury fire HQ.

Stuart West, Chairman of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority, thanked fundraisers for helping Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service staff to support fire services in Transylvania which use "outmoded and cumbersome" fire engines and firefighting equipment. 

Leaving on October 12, volunteers from the service have taken holiday leave to embark on a 1,700 mile four-day journey that will take them through eight countries to deliver the fire engines to Romanian firefighters in Transylvania. 

The initiative is being undertaken in partnership with the Mihai Eminescu Trust, a charity preserving Saxon villages in Romania, whose patron is Prince Charles. 

Colin Richards, historic building manager at Shropshire Council, is taking a team of craftsmen to continue work on restoring medieval buildings in the region. "The landscape is similar to Shropshire's a century ago. Taking fire and rescue equipment will conserve precious heritage and save lives," he said.

UK fire services have donated surplus items of firefighting and rescue equipment and the smoke alarm company Kidde Safety have provided 200 free smoke alarms for installation in homes in the medieval village of Viscri, 45 minutes from the nearest fire station. The Shropshire team will fit smoke alarms in every home and provide the villagers with basic firefighting equipment and training.

Shropshire firefighters and support staff will train their Romanian counterparts for a week before formally handing over the vehicles to the Mihai Eminescu Trust at a ceremony to be attended by the UK's Romanian ambassador Martin Harris.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Steve Worrall said a total of 11 fire engines have been donated and transported overseas by volunteers from Shropshire Fire and Rescue the Service over the past five years. They had also supported less well-off communities and firefighters in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. Volunteers had also helped orphanages in Romania and Bulgaria where smoke alarms had been fitted and children provided with toys and Shrewsbury FC football kit.


Photo: In a traditional ceremony, Brigade Chaplain Rev Murray McBride (pictured with helmet) blessed the four fire engines before their 1,700 mile trip. He is pictured with volunteers and fundraisers


Posted October 5th, 2012 at 1030 by Andrew. Comment by emailing: