The team at Maplestead Day Centre in Halstead has arranged for one of their club members to visit his former fire station and meet up with his colleagues.
The very special outing was organised for our first ever day club member Maurice Norman - a retired fireman who worked in Halstead for 31 years until he retired in 1981.
Since his retirement, Mr Norman had not returned to the fire station but had told the day club’s staff, with great pride, about his years of service and his special colleagues. Maplestead Manager, Catherine Anderson-Mills explained: “Mr Norman was our first day club member and we wanted to do everything we could to help him settle in at Maplestead and to make him feel special.”
During the recent visit, Mr Norman met Watch Manager Peter Robertson, who he had mentored as a young fireman, and former colleagues, who have also retired, Leading Firefighters Dennis Bryant and Derek Fletcher, as well as members of the current crew.
Mr Norman, who is 88 years old, said “Seeing the old place brought back so many memories; me and the boys saw some terrible things when we were fighting fires, but we always tried to have a laugh at the end of the shift.”
Watch Manager Robertson said: “It was so heart-warming to have Maurice back with us here and it has brought back so many memories. You just can’t beat the old way we did things; we’ve lost a lot of fire-fighter friends along the way and it was nice to see all the boys back together.”
He was also impressed with the team from Malplestead who accompanied Mr Norman, saying: “The team had obviously taken a lot of time to look into Maurice’s background, to arrange the visit and to look after his wellbeing on the day.
“It was clear Maurice remembered many calls and appliances we served on and I am so happy that he remembered and wanted to be here on station.”
Day Centre Manager Catherine Anderson-Mills said: “We like to encourage all our visitors to keep up with their friendships and their interests and we will do what we can to help them do the things they are interested in.
“When people are active and engaged in things they enjoy, they keep their life-skills and confidence and this helps them to stay independent and remain part of their communities.”