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Lake Charm: new fire station pride
For a small town and district predominantly comprising farming families, Lake Charm takes plenty of pride in its volunteer fire brigade.
That pride was enhanced by a sense of anticipation when Lake Charm’s new fire brigade headquarters were officially opened on Sunday, with more than 100 people turning out for the event.
Story courtesy of The Northern Times
The state-of-the-art $416,000 station on the Lake Charm-Benjeroop Road replaces a 34-year-old shed for the brigade, which formed in 1952 when Jack Scantleton lined knapsacks on the verandah of the town’s general store. The new headquarters contains a shed for the tankers, office facilities and a spacious kitchen.
The brigade currently has 30 volunteer members. Firefighters have been involved in a number of major incidents throughout the years, including the Black Saturday fires in 2009 and played a major role in the district-wide January 2011 floods.
Lake Charm Fire Brigade Captain Brett Boyd said he is delighted with the new facilities and predicts that they will serve the group well into the future.
“The most important people here are the volunteers and the families who make the brigade what it is,” he said. “As volunteers we just get on the fire truck and go, leaving families behind, but the support they give us is tremendous.”
Mr Boyd paid tribute to his secretary and communications officer Sue Gillingham for her work in organising the official opening.
“Sue’s done a fantastic job in getting today to be what it is.”
The ceremony was planned for outside, but wild and windy weather forced the organisers to hold it inside the station.
Funding for the station was announced in last year’s Victorian Government budget, as part of the CFA's capital works program. The Lake Charm brigade contributed towards minor equipment in the office, kitchen and building requirements.
Member for Swan Hill, Peter Walsh, said the CFA is a vital part of the community and the new station would provide a modern base for the local brigade. “With improved meeting and training facilities, the new station will help enhance and strengthen the brigade’s relationship with the community,” Mr Walsh said. “The new facilities give a real focus for the brigade to come together and work and socialise.”
The brigade held a barbecue lunch after the ceremony, with long service awards presented to members during the afternoon by Mike Wassing, Acting Regional Director Loddon Mallee Region and Trent McKinnon District 20 Operations Officer.
Photos by Colleen Scriven