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Alfred Thompson's long service celebrated by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

Published on 13 April 2010

Alfred Thompson was remembered recently as the longest serving fireman by the Shropfire Fire and Rescue Service

Whitchurch fire station will display Alfred Thompson's picture and fire service memorabilia

Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service celebrates the UK's longest serving firefighter at a special awards ceremony held at Telford Central fire station on March 31.

Queen Victoria was on the throne when Alfred Thompson joined the Shropshire fire brigade as a 16-year-old serving in Whitchurch for a record 57 years.

Doreen Oliver (68) presented a framed photograph of her grandfather along with his medals to Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service for them to be displayed at Shrewsbury fire HQ.

She also gave framed photos to Whitchurch fire station where Mr Thompson was based for more than half a century. When the alarm rang out from the top of St Alkmunds Church, Alfred, a stoker at Whitchurch gas works, would run almost a mile to the fire station at Yardington.

The firemen would fetch a horse from a nearby field to pull the steam run fire engine stoked with coal from the fireside hearth, said Mrs Oliver, of Sun Grove, Wem.

"It is with great pride that Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service have become custodians of my grandfather's long service medal totalling 57 years. It is a feat that can never be surpassed and a wonderful achievement."

Her grandfather spent many happy hours at Whitchurch fire station, she said, where his picture and fire service memorabilia would now also be on display. He took "the pledge" aged just 12 never drinking a drop of alcohol. Married with three daughters, he died while still serving as a firefighter, aged 73.

Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond said: "It must have been an amazing life. It was very special to be a firefighter in those days just as it is today."

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