Starting 2018 with firefighters

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I started 2018 with a visit to the Fire Station in Wetherby and spent the day with them getting a feel for the variety of work that the firemen do to keep us all safe writes Wetherby Mayor Coun Norma Harrington.

The daily, weekly, monthly and annual checks that have to be carried out on the fire appliance itself, and every piece of equipment they use, down to their fireproof protective clothing are absolutely immense. The range of equipment they have to learn to use was also an eye-opener. The guys train every day on one scenario or another and the day I was there it was training on accessing a second floor area in a building that was on fire. I was allowed to watch from a safe distance, not because of fire, but the water went everywhere.

The team also went to do a fire safety check on a building at Thorp Arch Trading Estate and I went along, sadly not in the fire appliance for insurance reasons, but in the Station manager’s car. The visit was partly a familiarisation visit for the firefighters but also to check on progress on installations of various equipment in the building itself.

While we were there the Station Manager was called away to attend an explosion in Leeds and he dropped me in Wetherby on the way. I was struck by the professionalism, enthusiasm and sheer bravery of the guys I met and I would like to thank them for the fantastic service they provide for our town and the surrounding areas.

Please contact the fire station if you would like any advice about fire safety in your home, especially if there is someone there who uses oxygen or has mobility problems or is sight or hearing impaired. This information could be a life saver if there was ever a need for you to call the fire brigade in an emergency. Their website is and the telephone number is 01937 582222.

The Churches Together Christmas Lunch, hosted by the Methodist Church on Christmas Day was a great success, thanks to all the people who volunteered to cook, serve, entertain and drive the guests to and from the event. A few members of the Wetherby Silver Band called in after a busy morning playing at other venues around the town, and there were carols sung, a nativity play with a difference, quizzes and a visit from Santa, not to mention a lovely three course Christmas lunch! It was lovely to see so many people enjoying themselves, rather than being sat in their own homes alone. We would also like to thank the Chef Mark, and all the local businesses who sponsored the event by donating the food that we ate, the crackers on the tables and some of the gifts that Santa handed out. A demonstration of the true meaning of Christmas.

This year started when I attended the five-year celebration of the WiSE cafe opening in Boston Spa Village Hall. It was an honour to chat with the regular customers and to blow out the candles on the Birthday Cake! I went that day as the Mayor but also as Vice Chair of trustees of WiSE. I am very proud of the work that this local charity does in supporting elderly people and their carers to enjoy activities and reduce their isolation. The cafe is a warm inviting and friendly meeting place open Tuesday to Thursday in the Village Hall and is open to everyone.

Another highlight was an exhibition of art by a very talented woman from Spofforth. Elisabeth Brown, who is now in her 90s, has been painting all her life and her dearest wish was to hold an exhibition, so her carers arranged it with the Town Clerk to use a room in the Town Hall and I went along to see her work. She is a very gracious and talented lady who is an inspiration to us all.

The work of the Town Council goes on as usual including the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group. There will be an update from Coun Alan Lamb who chairs this group in the next couple of weeks so please look out for it.