Bosham fire crew’s final call

Firefighters, Luke Hillman, Alisdair Kelly, Colin Bird, Richard Kewell and Senior Officer Kevin Trust.
Firefighters, Luke Hillman, Alisdair Kelly, Colin Bird, Richard Kewell and Senior Officer Kevin Trust.

Firefighters finishing their last-ever shift at Bosham’s now-closed station were ironically called out for the final time as they were handing in their uniforms.

Just as the fire crew were signing off their equipment, following the decision to mothball the station after a public consultation last year, they leapt straight back into action.

It was a sad day for the retained crew who have known the station’s fate since November.

It was not just the final call-out for Bosham, but for crew commander Colin Bird, who retired after 35 years’ service.

The 56-year-old said: “It was quite nice in some ways that we did have a final call before we finished.

“Without it we would have drifted into a nondescript end.

“We were able to close down and finish on a high note rather than a low.”

The closure was part of a major revamp which will save West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service an estimated £1.2m a year. Running the Bosham station was considered cost-ineffective at £90,000 a year.

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said the station would be sold off.

Chief fire officers said Bosham could be covered by neighbouring stations such as Chichester, because it is a low-risk area and had relatively few call-outs – a claim Bosham’s crew refuted.

Mr Bird added: “We tried to convince the powers that be it was not a good idea, but it didn’t seem to have much sway. No matter what we did it would have closed anyway.

“£90,000 for a station for a year is a lot of money for a private individual – as for a county council, it’s peanuts.

“It’s a sad end to a long history at Bosham.”

The final crew members to serve at Bosham Fire Station were Colin Bird, Richard Kewell, who received a 15-year service certificate, Darren Morrison, Alisdair Kelly, Luke Hillman, Alex Hazeldine, Miles Partridge and Chris Ralf.

To celebrate the history of the station a party is being held on May 20 at Bosham Village Hall.

Everyone who wants to attend is welcome. Mr Bird is particularly keen to gather former Bosham firefighters together at the party.

There will be a hog roast, live music and disco. Tickets will be on sale for £5. For more information call Mr Bird on 07976 521126.