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Former fireman attempts to reunite volunteers 50 years on from stand down

PUBLISHED: 13:46 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:46 12 January 2018

A former volunteer for the Lowestoft branch of the Auxiliary Fire Service is trying to organise a members reunion, 50 years after it was disbanded. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Walker

A former volunteer for the Lowestoft branch of the Auxiliary Fire Service is trying to organise a members reunion, 50 years after it was disbanded. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Walker

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A volunteer is looking to reunite surviving members of the Auxiliary Fire Service (AFS), 50 years after it was disbanded.

The AFS consisted of both men and women, who gave up their spare time to attend weekly drill sessions and weekend exercises on an unpaid basis. Picture: Courtesy of Peter WalkerThe AFS consisted of both men and women, who gave up their spare time to attend weekly drill sessions and weekend exercises on an unpaid basis. Picture: Courtesy of Peter Walker

The idea is the brainchild of Peter Walker, who has lived and worked in Lowestoft for most of his life and volunteered for the AFS when it was their duty to support local fire brigades.

Those involved - both men and women - gave up their spare time to attend weekly drill sessions and weekend exercises on an unpaid basis.

The Lowestoft branch, which initially formed part of the Civil Defence Service during the Second World War, was based at the old Normanhurst Fire Station before the AFS and its sister organisation, the Civil Defence Corps (CDC), were both disbanded in 1968.

March 31 marks the 50th anniversary of the AFS national stand down and Mr Walker, who is now aged 70 and based in Beccles, is keen to see former members reunite and exchange memories about their time in the service.

“Volunteering for the AFS was such an interesting period in my life, and my interest has continued ever since it disbanded,” said Mr Walker.

“I’m in fairly regular contact with one other former member and, with the 50th anniversary approaching, we decided it would be a good idea to organise a reunion.”

Having more or less dissolved during the Second World War, the AFS was reformed in 1948 when the threat of nuclear war arose.

The service was equipped with 1,000 Green Goddess fire engines and would have been tasked with providing specialist assistance in areas affected by potential attacks.

Mr Walker added: “As is often the way, we were stood down in 1968 for financial reasons - and because there was less of a nuclear threat.

“People have no doubt moved away over the years, but it would be really nice to get some responses and then I’ll organise a date for the reunion.

“When you get older you tend to think more about your younger self and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the AFS.”

Anyone who is interested in attending the potential reunion - or knows someone who would be - can contact Mr Walker via email at onaway@live.co.uk, or by post at 118 Denmark Road, Beccles, NR34 9DW.

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