Firefighters in Avon are raging at plans to dig up a memorial to fallen firefighters in Bristol City Centre and move it to a remote location near Portishead. The memorial statue of a firefighter gazing up at the sky is currently located next to Temple Back fire station in the city centre. Under the controversial new plans, the beloved memorial will be dug up and shifted to a new ‘Police and Fire’ headquarters site where hardly anyone will be able to see it.
Gary Spindler, brigade secretary of the Fire Brigades Union in Avon, said: “The statue is an important memorial for remembering firefighters who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. Its current location in the city centre keeps their memory in the public eye, where it should be.
“Every year on Firefighters’ Memorial Day (May 4) firefighters and other fire and rescue service personnel congregate around the statue as part of this high profile event – this is when the value of its location is really appreciated and valued, by the public as well as firefighters.
“To move it out to a remote location in Portishead would deprive the public of this important memorial and frankly be an insult to our fallen colleagues. The planned new site is a high security location, which will make access even harder. We are demanding that these plans are reconsidered urgently, and that the statue remains at its proper home at Temple Back fire station.”
Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire said: “This bronze statue stands as a memorial to all firefighters who died saving others - it even features in published sculpture trails around the city. In its current position the memorial is seen by many local residents and passers-by. It would be such a shame to move it to somewhere where few would be able to appreciate it. I’d very much like to see a rethink of these plans”.
A petition asking Avon Fire and Rescue Authority to drop the plans is available to sign at: bit.ly/2yukrf1