SCORES of Bewdley residents marked the end of an era as they gathered to watch the final drill at the fire station.

Emotional campaigners and concerned residents applauded firefighters as they sounded their sirens at Bewdley Fire Station for the last time yesterday (Tuesday, February 11).

The station in Dog Lane is to close when Bewdley, Stourport and Kidderminster crews are centralised at the new £7.6 million emergency services hub on Stourport Road.

A campaign involving the Fire Brigades Union rallied community support to save the station after concerns the closure would put people's lives at risk.

Firefighters invited members of the public into the station to share memories and photographs from past years.

Bewdley Watch Commander Rod Maiden said: "It's a sad day for the station. It's a shame for all the people who have worked here over the years.

"The station has been here 60 years. We have had sons follow fathers into the service."

Retired firefighter Stan Price, aged 67, who was crew manager at the station and whose son works there said: "It's emotional. It's a ridiculous thing to close the station."

Bewdley resident Janet Payne said: "I'm feeling very sad - my brother was a firefighter here. I feel quite passionate about this because he loved his job."

One member of the public said: "We have had a fire engine in Bewdley since 1709."

Cotswold Journal: Firefighters, family and friends gather to mark the drill.Firefighters, family and friends gather to mark the drill.

Tony Raybould, chair of the Save Bewdley Fire Station campaign, said: "This is another example of the feelings of people as to how important this fire station was to them and how they wish to see a continuing service.

"Unfortunately if that's not to be, what we wish to ensure is that there are not services further compromised at all.

"This is a fantastic and uplifting turnout of people just to demonstrate how they feel about Bewdley Fire Station and the people who have worked there."

Spokesman for the campaign Stephen Brown said: "I think we have run a successful campaign in so much that we've motivated the community to come out.

"For us now the campaign has to move on to protect services across Wyre Forest.

"Over the last ten years we have seen the systematic loss of fire engines, loss of fire stations and reductions in crew."

Cotswold Journal: Residents and campaigners came out in the cold to support the fire station. Residents and campaigners came out in the cold to support the fire station.

Union spokesperson Neil Bevan: “Firefighter concerns at Bewdley were that this fire station should remain. They provide a service to residents and they see that the removal of this fire station will put them at an increased risk.

“It essentially leaves a big hole in this area by having a central fire station.

The Bewdley Fire Station Facebook page posted a message saying thank you to those who came out to the drill. 

The post said: "Bewdley station remains operational till midday Monday 17th February when we will drive the Fire engine and Land Rover to the new Station and begin operating from our new base."

A spokesperson for Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service said: “The new Wyre Forest Station is now up and functioning with crews from the three fire stations involved, Kidderminster, Stourport and Bewdley, transferring over during the coming few days.

“There will be a formal opening of the new station in due course.”