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Warrnambool Fire Brigade celebrates
A combined 300 years’ service to the Warrnambool Fire Brigade was celebrated at the weekend with the brigade’s annual dinner and awards night.
Held at Warrnambool’s iconic restaurant Proudfoot's Boathouse, the annual event was attended by members and their families.
Brigade Secretary Bryan Wills welcomed guests, including the District Operations Manager Richard Bourke, Warrnambool Mayor, Councillor Michael Neoh, and VFBV Board Member Bruce Pickett. Six local brigades were also represented including Warrnambool Coast Guard.
Long Service Awards were presented to Sam Dennis and Andrew Freeman (5 years), Tom Woodhams (10 years), Owen Maslen (35 years) and David Carter (40 years). John Cozens was to be presented with his 70-year award but was unwell and unable to attend. Jack began with the Beulah Brigade before moving to Rupanyup and Birchip, joining the Warrnambool Brigade in 1968. He quickly made friends with the first paid Station Officer Stan Nicols. Jack’s two sons were also involved the brigade.
A number of Auxiliary members also received awards on the night. The Warrnambool Fire Brigade has always been well supported by the Auxiliary since its inception in 1955. VFBV Board Member Bruce Pickett presented these awards.
Thelma Hallam and Heather Love were recognised for 35 years’ service. Two members received Service Badges recognising 50 years. Val Charles, a previous member of the Torquay Auxiliary, joined the Warrnambool Auxiliary in 1965. She has held the positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Maree Rayner has provided continuous service and has also held positions of President, Secretary and Treasurer since she joined the Auxiliary, also in 1965.
Two members of the Auxiliary were awarded Life Memberships. Helen Read received her 30 year service badge last year. She is a reliable and hardworking member who assists with the many activities involving the Auxiliary, including catering, social functions, brigade events and competitions and championships.
A valued member of the Auxiliary, Sue McNally, passed away in June this year. Sue was a committed member who achieved 30 years of service in 2014 and it was the Auxiliary’s intention to present Sue with a Life Membership at this Annual Dinner. The Jewel of Life Membership was presented to Julie, Sue’s daughter, in appreciation of the service Sue provided over so many years.
Officer in Charge of the Warrnambool Fire Brigade Henry Barton finalised the evening with the presentation of the Encouragement and Firefighter of the Year Awards.
This year it was a family affair with Carolyn Bishop taking home the Encouragement Award. Carolyn was a member of the Auxiliary before making the decision to become a firefighter in 2013. She is enthusiastic and always willing to participate and learn new skills.
Her son, Cameron, joined the brigade as a junior and is now a confident firefighter. He attributes his love of the fire brigade to his family, especially his grandfather who is still a member of the Mortlake Fire Brigade.