By 2019 James Hervey-Bathurst
Last Saturday was St Florian’s Day, the patron saint of fire fighters. St Florian had a distinguished role in the Roman army where he trained a special group of soldiers to fight fires; he was executed for his Christian beliefs in about 304 and, as a martyr, he is patron saint of Austria. He is also a patron of chimney sweeps and brewers.
The Malvern Fire Station https://www.hwfire.org.uk/about-us/the-fire-service/fire-stations/malvern/, an important operation for Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescue Service, marked St Florian’s Day with a parade to commemorate firemen from the station who had died in service. The Station Commander, Stewart Dewar, invited me and Ed Holloway, High Sheriff of Worcestershire to attend, but in the event only I was able to be there. After an informal inspection of the station’s impressive range of equipment, including a Scania Fire engine, a Land Rover and an Argocat, which is essential for work on the Malvern Hills, Stewart called the assembled group of serving and retired firemen to order and recited the names of the men who had died while firefighting, emphasising the risks that all firemen take to keep people safe from fire. A minute’s silence was observed, and fire siren then sounded for 15 seconds.
It was a short, but moving and professionally delivered ceremony, which I was honoured to have been invited to attend. The Malvern Fire Station gives local people, on both side of the Hills, an excellent service.