Studley says farewell as station closes

By Ian Dipple Wednesday 10 October 2012 Updated: 10/10 10:33

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Buy photos » Residents and former firefighters turn out to say farewell to Studley Fire Station. (s)

MORE than 50 years of history came to an end on Monday (October 8) as a fire engine rolled out of Studley Fire Station for the final time.

Residents and ex-firefighters joined current members of the crew at the Bell Lane station to mark the occasion and show their appreciation for the contribution they had made to the life of the village.

The closure was approved by Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service two years ago as part of its improvement plan, despite a hard fought campaign by residents. Nearby Alcester Fire Station has been upgraded from retained to full-time crewing to provide cover for the area.

The current station was built in 1955 but the village has had one since the 1800s and generations of families have served there.

Watch commander Brian Crow, whose dad served at the station for 24 years, said Studley was losing much more than just a building.

"It's a sad day for everybody in the village and all the firefighters but it's been an honour to serve the community of Studley and to assist them when they have needed us."

Coun Paul Beaman, chairman of Studley Parish Council, told firefighters: "Thank you for everything you have done for Studley, Redditch, Alcester, the motorway network - you have always been there, one of the best crews, always turned out and Studley will miss you."

Afterwards he told the Standard: "People have turned out to show their appreciation for everything our fire crew have done. It's not just an engine we're losing, it's all the other benefits. It's a community building and they've always been there, supported us and taken part in events whether it's hosting the flower show or the Remembrance Parade.

"They're part of the community and we're very upset to lose it."

Howard Vale MBE, who served at Studley for 36 years and whose grandson was one of the station's final crew members, said he was proud of the work they had done including the award they received in 1994 after becoming the first village in the country to install smoke alarms in every home across the parish.

He added the village's station had been closed before in the 1930s and re-opened after officials realised they had made a mistake and there was a chance history could repeat itself.

"To me it's a political thing rather than something which can be justified."

Seymour Sutor was a firefighter at the station for 17 years before fracturing his spine during an accident at work and his family have been involved with the service in the village for over a century.

"They've tried several times to close the station but we managed to get through it but I never thought it would ever come to this in the end," he said.

"It will only take one or two major fires at the same time and then what will they do? What happens when Alcester are out and Leamington are out and Redditch are out? It's a long way to send a fire station and it will happen one of these days, it may take a few years but it will happen."

The building will now be mothballed by Warwickshire County Council and sold. The engine will be put back into the fleet and all but one of the crew at Studley who has taken redundancy, has been reallocated to other stations.

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