Date: 4th December, 2019
A Charmouth woman has received a plaque from the Chief Fire Officer of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service for supporting four generations of her family to be firefighters.
CFO Ben Ansell made the presentation to Jill Matthews when she attended her grandson’s pass-out parade at Salisbury fire station last month. Ben Perry is the family’s newest recruit to serve Charmouth as an on-call firefighter.
Ben’s great-grandfather Len Linthorne led the way, joining the fire service back in 1947. His daughter Jill later married Stuart Matthews, who became a firefighter in 1977, retiring 12 years later.
One of their three children, Julian, joined the Coldstream Guards at the age of 16 and later was an on-call firefighter for two years after returning to live in Charmouth.
Now his nephew, Ben, has taken up the mantle, joining Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service two years ago. He provides cover alongside his full-time job as a window fitter with Hussey & Briggs in Bridport, and has now successfully completed his Firefighter Acquisition Training Courses.
When CFO Ansell met Mrs Matthews at the pass-out parade, he was so impressed by her family history and the commitment to firefighting that has spanned over 70 years, that he decided to make the presentation of a Service plaque.
He said: “It isn’t unusual to meet on-call firefighters whose parents or siblings have also been firefighters, but it was quite something to meet someone who has seen four generations of their family support their community in this way. We often talk of the fire service family, as none of our firefighters could do the job they do without the backing of those around them, so I very much wanted to recognise the outstanding support of Mrs Matthews. It was a privilege to meet her.”
On-call firefighters and their employers are at the heart of a vital community emergency response. Paid flexible contracts are available and the Service covers costs for training and equipment.
The recruitment team always seeks approval from an employer of someone who would like to be an on-call firefighter, and are happy to come and talk to managers to discuss what can work for their business.