Firefighting family are recognised for one hundred years of service to the local community

Merv and Mick Housden with Chris Strickland and St Neots mayor Derek Giles.

Merv and Mick Housden with Chris Strickland and St Neots mayor Derek Giles. - Credit: Archant

A plaque has been erected at St Neots Fire Station in recognition of a family of firefighters who have given more than 100 years combined service to their local community.

The plaque, donated by Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service and the St Neots Local History Society, is in honour of brothers Mick and Merv Housden, who are on-call firefighters based in St Neots, and their late father, Tony, who was a part-time messenger for the National Fire Service in Bedfordshire before moving to Cambridgeshire.

Mick, 57, has completed 40 years with CFRS; Merv another 36, with Tony adding a further 28 years. Tony also had a five-year stint with the Auxiliary Fire Service in Huntingdonshire, followed by time as an on-call firefighter at both Linton and St Neots, which gives a grand total of 104 years service between them.

St Neots Local History Society awards plaques in recognition of services to the local community.

Mick and Merv’s on-call colleagues gathered for a special ceremony on November 16 to mark the handover of the plaque, which is now on the wall at the front of the station.

The event had been organised as a surprise for Mick and Merv during the station’s regular Wednesday drill night.

Also present was St Neots mayor, Councillor Derek Giles and mayoress Sandie Giles; representatives from the St Neots Local History Society and chief fire officer Chris Strickland.

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Presenting the two brothers with their plaque, CFO Strickland said: ”It’s an amazing feat to commit such a long time to the community and fire service and probably one that won’t happen again in our lifetime.”

Mick, who earlier this year was presented with an in-service statue to mark his 40 years with the fire service, said: ”It has been a long, enjoyable time with the fire service with everything we have been involved in.”

Station commander Scott Feveyear, added: ”We have had family generations come through before but it is rare to see a family give more than 100 years service.

Its an incredible and amazing achievement. It’s the commitment that the family has to give as well, not just the fire firefighters, but family members too.

As firefighters Mick and Merv are brilliant. They never let you down and remain fully enthusiastic with their commitment to the fire service and the local community. They are jovial, fun characters who are like father figures at the station because of all their knowledge and experience. They are like hands that glue the station together.”