Thursday, 29 July 2021

173 years of fighting fires

TEN retired Henley firefighters attended a reunion event.

TEN retired Henley firefighters attended a reunion event.

The men, who served for a total of 173 years, shared memories about their careers and paid tribute to colleagues who have since died.

They included John Gosby, of Cooper Road, Henley, who had the longest service record of 34 years.

Also present were Vic Warner, the second longest-serving with 30 years, and Ivor Gosby, John’s brother, who served for 25 years.

The reunion at the Catherine Wheel in Hart Street was organised by Trevor Beales, of St Anne’s Close, Henley, who became an on-call firefighter in 1969.

He was previously a member of the town’s auxiliary fire service until the organisation was disbanded nationally in 1968.

Mr Beales said: “The attendance was a bit disappointing as I’d invited a lot more people but we had a great evening. We shared lots of stories about the good times we had and were talking until 11pm. I’d love to do it again.”

Mr Beales said his favourite memory was of Christmas Eve in 1976, when he and his colleagues carried out 13 rescues and tackled a blaze at Phyllis Court Club which was believed to have been started deliberately.

The team received a formal commendation for their efforts.

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