Fire Service volunteers help run Essex Fire Museum
Essex Fire Museum opened 15 years ago. It is now one of the most popular fire museums in the country – thanks to the small team of volunteers who run it.
Mick Ford spends a day a week at the museum at Grays Fire Station where he has been volunteering for about 13 years. He has also been co-ordinating volunteers at the Chelmsford Vaccination Centre for two days a week.
He said: “I enjoy everything about volunteering at the museum; the camaraderie, the research, outreach visits, putting on exhibitions, piecing the collection together.
“The volunteers have turned it into one of the best fire museums in the country and Roger Pickett has to take great credit for that.”
Roger, a firefighter at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service set up the museum after retiring from operational duty in 2006.
Even though it has been closed to the public throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the volunteers have been busy researching and writing articles, dealing with questions and enquiries from the public, planning exhibitions and preparing to renew the museum’s Arts Council accreditation.
Volunteer Murray Beale has been organising a weekly Zoom call so the team can stay in touch with each other.
They hope to reopen the museum, which attracted 5,200 visitors in 2019, ahead of the summer holidays.
Mick said: “The visitors are really the heartbeat of the museum so we’ve missed them at lot. We can’t wait to get people back in; it’s the reason for it being here.
“There’s quite a lot to do before we can reopen, but we’ll get there.”
The team comes from a range of backgrounds.
Mick is a retired teacher, Murray is a former Essex and London fire officer, Dave is an ex-police inspector, Mike was a senior immigration officer, Graham retired from his fire safety role at Essex County Fire and Rescue Service last year and Alan is an accountant.
Mick said: “I’m proud to be a volunteer because everyone works so well together, they are great bunch of people, both at the museum and the vaccination centre.”
This week, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is celebrating Volunteers Week. If you would like to register your interest to volunteer with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service visit: www.essex-fire.gov.uk/Volunteering/
Page last updated 4 June, 2021