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Local pensioner leaves £60,000 to friendly fire fighters

The Fire Fighters Charity
Edward Matthews was so impressed with the firefighters' helpfulness that he bequeathed them a third of his estate
Kind-hearted Ashford pensioner, Edward Matthews, has left over £60,000 in his will to The Fire Fighters Charity, simply because of the kind nature of the local firefighters who installed a smoke alarm in his property, shortly before he died.

Retired welder, Edward, had lived in his council property in Arlington, Ashford until he died in April 2009, aged 88 from natural causes. The generous pensioner also remembered the charities, Guide Dogs for The Blind and The Royal British Legion.

Back in April 2008, Edward had contacted his local fire station in Ashford as part of Kent Fire and Rescue Service's (KFRS) home safety visit scheme, to fit a smoke alarm in his property as he wasn't physically able to do so himself. In his will, the reason that Mr Matthews provided for bequeathing a third share of his estate to The Fire Fighters Charity was due to the "kind and helpful nature of the firemen" that carried out the visit.

The Fire Fighters Charity is the official organisation which exists to support injured fire fighters. The charity assists over 17,000 beneficiaries every year, by providing pioneering treatment and support services.

Keith McGillivray, Chairman of The Fire Fighters Charity welcomed the generous bequest.

He said: "Edward's donation will be used in a number of areas within the Charity, helping care for the thousands of injured fire fighters that pass through our centre's each year. The Charity also has plans to open its services out to members of the public who have received critical burns injuries, as well as planning a third therapy centre."

Ashford Fire Station Manager Lee Rose said: "Our day-to-day duties vary from fighting fires, rescuing people trapped, to educating children on road safety and helping elderly residents to stay safe and independent in their homes by providing fire safety information and fitting smoke alarms. We are extremely pleased that Mr Edwards was so impressed by our service that he made such a substantial legacy to The Fire Fighters Charity. It will no doubt help many fire and rescue service staff and their families in the future.

Lee added: "I hope Mr Edward's case acts as a reminder to all of how important it is to protect elderly members of our community, as they are most at risk of dying in a house fire. If you know someone you feel may be vulnerable, talk to them about having a free home safety visit. By doing so, you will be playing a huge part in protecting them and helping them remain independent."

KFRS's home safety visits scheme is free to all residents. Firefighters will visit your home to advise you on how you can keep you, your family and your home safe from the threat of fire. They will even fit a 10 year smoke alarm for free, if needed and have a range of fire safety devices for the visually and hearing impaired. Contact KFRS's Community Safety Team for free on 0800 923 7000 to book an appointment or visit| for more safety information.

To find out more information about The Fire Fighters Charity, go to

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