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 Emergency services pay their respects with poppy displays


​EMERGENCY services in Barnard Castle are paying tribute to those who served in the First World War by displaying poppies on their vehicles.

To commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day and as a touching tribute to those who fought in the Great War, poppies have been added to the bonnet of Durham Constabulary’s rural patrol vehicle, one of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s rapid response vehicles and a number of the North East Ambulance Service’s vehicles.

A third of all staff who are based at the town’s quad station, which is shared by police, the fire service, the ambulance service and mountain rescue, are ex-forces.

It is the first time all three services have decorated their vehicles in this way to pay tribute to those who fought in the First World War.

Sergeant Simon Rogers, who is based at the quad station, served in the Royal Air Force for ten years before joining Durham Constabulary. He reached the rank of Corporal before becoming a police officer aged 27.

“Those who fought in the First World War put themselves forward to fight with no thought for themselves, so it’s important we do everything we can to keep their memory alive,” he said.

“Our knowledge of war nowadays is very different to what soldiers back then will have known. They will have known nothing of the horrors they were about to face when they volunteered for their country.

“I hope our poppy car will encourage the people of Weardale and Teesdale to take a moment to reflect and say thank you to these brave men and women who served, sacrificed and changed our world.”

Fire service watch manager, Colin Burns, said: “With so many of our staff here in Barnard Castle coming from military backgrounds, it is really important for us to pay tribute to those who fought and died for our country.”

The poppies have been installed on the sides of seven ambulances since mid-October and was the brainchild of David Parkin, who works in the ambulance service’s fleet department and was formerly in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers (REME) for 22 years, serving as a staff sergeant vehicle mechanic.

He said: “With it being the 100th year anniversary, I thought it was important to show our support to the Royal British Legion and all of the service men and women and volunteers who have lost their lives through conflict. We hope that by being placed on ambulances, they should be seen by people from across our region.

“We’ve had fantastic feedback so far, especially from NEAS staff, who say they feel extremely proud to drive these vehicles.”