Sun shines on village’s community hub campaign

DOZENS of families supported the first fundraising event run by the trust that is aiming to turn the old Byfleet Fire Station into a community hub.

The organisers were delighted with the turn-out for their fun day last Saturday, which also raised awareness of the campaign to buy and restore the station.

Deputy mayor Saj Hussain drawing the Byfleet Amenities Group raffle, with Jean and Brian Smith

Adults and children found plenty to interest them at the stalls on Plough Green, where a strict COVID precautions one-way system was in place during the event.

An information stall provided details of The Byfleet Fire Station Trust’s campaign and a fire service heritage stall displayed a model of the station made by local resident Bill Squirrell.

Visitors were able to experience in 3D how the station will look when restored, using plans drawn up by aThink Architects of Walton-on-Thames. Iris Kouneni from the company was encouraging people to “view the future” through a virtual reality headset.

THE first prize in the fun day raffle a vanilla sponge fire engine cake – complete with working lights – made by local resident Yemen Sangari. It was won by Charlie Markham, who was so pleased that he donated an extra £50 to the cause. Photo courtesy of Byfleet resident Bruce Bovill.

There was a children’s tombola, an adult’s tombola, selection of food, drink and crafts stalls and a stall run by Byfleet Amenities Group.

“We have been completely overwhelmed by all the support, donations and affection shown for our lovely old fire station and today has been a tremendous success,” said Cllr Amanda Boote, a borough and county councillor for the village who is one of the trustees.

“We were blessed with the weather as the sun shone all day long and it was so nice to see our fabulous residents being able to meet up with friends and family after such a difficult year.

“I would like to thank all of the local businesses who kindly donated so many great prizes for our raffles and tombola and also our residents for all of their support.’’

She added that the affection for the fire station was demonstrated when a little boy donated his 10p pocket money to the fund.

One resident donated a small brass bell and many gave names to the heritage stall of relatives who were firemen at the station when it was operational.

Alan Greenwood’s Dennis F24 fire engine, a retired Surrey Fire Brigade appliance that has a Rolls Royce engine, in the fire station

Villager Ken Collier took along photographs of his father, Ted, who was a fireman at Byfleet during the Second World War. Ken said his dad had been rejected as being too short to join the fire service before 1939 but it was happy to recruit him when war broke out.

The Deputy Mayor of Woking, Saj Hussain, drew the winning raffle tickets, with prizes ranging from a Brooklands Museum family ticket to a meal at the village Indian restaurant.

“It’s an honour to be involved in such a great campaign to save such an important building within Byfleet,” said Cllr Hussain. “I wish all the success to The Byfleet Fire Station Trust and hope that the local community get behind this campaign.”

The fire station itself could be viewed from behind safety fencing and an extra attraction was two vintage Dennis fire engines belonging to funeral director Alan Greenwood.

Alan, who has a collection of restored fire appliances at his base in Mimbridge, on the Horsell-Chobham border, showed people around his engines. Cllr Hussain, Cllr Boote and some excited boys were treated to a trip around the village in Alan’s Dennis F24 water tender.

To find out more about the campaign to restore the fire station, visit the Byfleet Fire Station Facebook page or email hub@byfleetfirestation.co.uk. To make a donation, go to https://uk.gofundme.com and search for Save Byfleet Fire Station.

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