The first week-end of September proved to be a hectic one for the London District, which started with the arrival of 14 firefighters from the Stara Hut, Czech Republic on the Thursday and 6 firefighters from Grunheide, Germany arriving on Friday for their official visit to the London District on the Friday morning.
Paul Basson, Terezie Olicova, Alistair Milner would be looking after the Czech’s and Frank Turner and Martin Harris with the Germans.
Friday 2nd September the Czech’s had a packed programme…. kicked off by visits to LFB’s Edmonton Fire Station by kind permission of Steve West, Enfield Borough Commander, Ian Thompson Station Manager and Officers and Firefighters of White watch (LFB Liaison Big Thank you to Station Manager Daniel Alie).
Then onto London’s tourist high spot’s including a visit up the “Walkie Talkie tower” was on the agenda for our Czech visitors.
Whilst our Grunheide guests went to the Babcock Fire Training Centre at Becton, then onto their accommodation before being entertained at an evening meal at our General Secretaries house.
Saturday 3rd September our Czech friends went on a tour of more of London landmarks, our German colleagues went to The Great Fire of London exhibition at the Museum of London.
Later we all joined up on Saturday evening and then descended on the Hilton Hotel, near Russell Square, for our commemorative Dinner.
Where 80 attendees dined and were musically entertained by “The Cedar Quartet”. Our Guest Speaker was Dr Hazel Forsyth, Senior Curator at the Museum of London, she gave us a short insight into the lives of ordinary people living through the Great Fire of London.
Our Vice Chairman Paul Basson took on the role of Chairman for the evening due to Peter Cowland being in the USA, with fellow BFFMC enthusiasts riding a Harley Davidson to New York….for the 15th Anniversary 9-11 memorial.
A minute Silence was observed…. For All our fallen Brothers and Sisters …”Firefighters around the world.”
All the Guests at the dinner where presented with a Royal Mint £2 coin memento of the Great Fire.
President, Graham Howgate presented Dr Hazel Forsyth with a memento from the London District.
During the evening a many gifts were exchanged between the London District, The Master of the Worshipful Company of Firefighters, The London Fire Brigade, guests and reciprocated by our overseas guests.
The Master of the WCOFF Bruce Hoad hands a Picture of the City of London before and after The Great Fire to Klaus-Peter Schulz , District Chief officer, Oder-Spree, Brandenburg, Germany.
Station Manager (LFB) Daniel Alie, in great conversation….with Gerhard Kantner, Squad Leader, German Fire Brigade through the interpreter Patrick Wegener and handed out LFB 150th pin badges to All the German and Czech Firefighter’s.
The Mayor of Stara Hut, Petr Dragoun presented to the President of the London District Graham Howgate a Village Pennant and a Fire Service Ribbon for our district standard.
In the Centre Paul Basson Acting-Chair of The BFSA (London District) with Firefighters from Germany and Czech Republic.
The Highlight was from our Vice Chairman of The BFSA, Frank Turner presented “The Honorary Members Medal” to The President of the Stara Hut Volunteer Fire Brigade, Milan Kadlec Snr.
An excellent response to the raffle and auction saw proceeds go to the London District, the Fire Fighters Memorial Trust and to R.A.F.T.
Guests including representatives from the Fire & Rescue Chaplains Association, Institute of Fire Prevention Officers, The FireFighters Memorial Trust, The Worshipful Company of Fire Fighters, The London Fire Brigade, The Emergency Planning Society, London Branch, The London Fire Brigade Retired Members Association, Capita plc, friends and families.
Sunday 4th September we had an unexpected highlight of the week-end with a invitation to attend the GFL 350th special service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. Where the London District members and all our overseas guests were escorted to the front seating which was a big surprise.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd & Rt Hon Dr Richard Chartres, in his address to the large congregation, then mention the presence of our overseas guests and acknowledged us all when he was processing out of the Cathedral.
We owe a debt of special gratitude and thanks to the Rev. Mia Hilborn, Chaplin to the London Fire Brigade for the arrangements at the Cathedral.
The London District Officers can be pleased with their efforts and the feed back from other Fire related organizations was extremely positive.
“More special events to come, I am sure within the next year or two…”
Vice- Chair BFSA (London District)