New Headquarters Opened

A double celebration on the evening of June 3rd marked the opening of Essex County Fire and Rescue’s new headquarters at Kelvedon Park and the 10th anniversary of the Essex Fire Authority.

Members of Essex Fire Authority, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service staff from around the County, partners and community organisations joined in the event at the new headquarters at Rivenhall and 10 trees were planted to mark 10 successful years of the Essex Fire Authority.

The planting was carried out by former chairmen of the Fire Authority, councillors Les Double and Lionel Lee; the current chairman councillor Simon Walsh; vice-chair councillor Ann Holland. A tree was planted by community commanders Ray Skinner, Mick Osborne, Olly Holford, John Moulson, Andy Butcher for their respective commands. Southend Station Commander Martyn Hodder and retired firefighter Brian Hickey from Basildon and Castle Point Command completed the line-up. They were assisted by children from Jesters in Bicknacre.

The first 100-plus staff moved in to Kelvedon Park on May 19 at the start of what will be a phased move that will see all headquarters support and training operations on site by 2011.

Chief Fire Officer David Johnson said: “We wanted to make this a community occasion.

“Every day, in many ways, we are building and strengthening links with the communities we serve, so it was appropriate to open our doors to a diverse range of organisations at tonight's event for what is a double celebration.

“The opening of our new headquarters and our plans for its development marks a significant milestone for the Service and is illustrative of our innovative plans and ambitions for the future as we do more than we have ever done to make Essex safer.

“It is particularly pleasing that the official opening co-incides with the 10th anniversary of Essex Fire Authority and is an excellent symbol of what has been a significant decade of progress.

“This is the end of one chapter of change – we now look forward to the next phase of progress as we work together to meet the challenges ahead.”

The building was officially opened by Councillor Simon Walsh, Chairman of the Fire Authority, as his last major engagement before standing down later this month.

Certificates were presented to a number of community organisations who have received grants from the Essex Community Foundation via Essex Fire’s charitable trust.