HUNDREDS of firefighters from around the world are set to descend on East Staffordshire for a special ceremony celebrating their lifesaving work.
The Firefighters Memorial Trust is hosting the Annual International Service of Thanksgiving at the National Memorial Arboretum, in Alrewas, tomorrow.
Serving and former firefighters, their families and friends as well as members of the public are invited to the ceremony, which will include speeches, marches and a wreath-laying ceremony at the site’s Firefighters Serving Humanity monument.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service chief fire officer Peter Dartford will attend, along with Fire Minister Brandon Lewis and dignitaries from across the area including fire cadets from Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.
Mr Dartford (pictured) spoke to the Mail about his ‘pride’ at being involved in the occasion and how the event was all about saying a big ‘thank you’ to firefighters both past and present.
He said: “It is a great honour to welcome firefighters from across the world to Staffordshire for this very special ceremony of remembrance and thanksgiving.
“Firefighters save lives on a daily basis and face some extremely challenging situations, from wildfires that can threaten entire communities and beyond to house fires and road traffic collisions.
“This international event is not only to say ‘thank you’ to the firefighters who are currently in active service, but it is also an opportunity to honour our colleagues who have sacrificed their own lives while trying to save others.”
The cadets will perform a march during the ceremony, which starts at 11.30am, as well as providing a guard of honour during the laying of the wreaths.
They will also lay a wreath on behalf of the National Fire Cadets.
The band of the West Midlands Fire Service will perform, along with its pipe band,throughout the service.
More information is available by visiting www.staffordshirefire.gov.uk