Firefighters mark 50 years

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YVONNE O’HARA
yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz

Millers Flat hosted a parade marking the 50th anniversary of its fire brigade last Saturday afternoon (October 21).

The brigade’s four chief fire officers, plus current and foundation members and/or their wives, and St John representatives took part, accompanied by the Millers Flat and Ettrick Volunteer Fire Brigade vehicles, an ambulance and a lot of noise.

Many former and current members got rides in classic cars, hot rods or three-wheeled motorbikes.

Brigade members also walked according to the decade in which they served.

The parade finished at a park by the river, the scene of the brigade’s first big fire.

Doc’s Pub, owned by Len Docherty, was situated there and burned down in 1969.

Firefighters threw lollies to the children, then posed for a group photo with the vehicles.

The brigade began in 1967 after a big house fire in the valley earlier that year.

Chief Fire Officer Brian Timpson was pleased with how well the weekend went.

There was also a social get-together and a formal dinner on Saturday evening.

Mr Timpson said he was pleased with the celebrations for the half century of service to the community, held at the recently refurbished fire station.

“We have more than 80 people here [for the celebrations],” Mr Timpson said.

Rod Peirce, of Roxburgh, was the first chief fire officer (CFO).

He stepped down in 1979 and Mervyn Alexander, of Millers Flat, took over until 1997.

He still serves as one of the brigade’s operational support officers.

Wes Reichel, of Millers Flat, was CFO from 1997 to 2008, and then current CFO Brian Timpson, also of Millers Flat, took over.

Mr Reichel is also the brigade’s other operational support officer.

Mr Timpson said: “We also need more members and that is ongoing, to replace those of us who are going out the other end.”