Firemen show PM the ropes
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher spent an action-packed afternoon at Finchley fire station and training centre during a visit to her constituency on Friday.
On arrival at Long Lane station she was met by area fire chiefs including assistant chief officer Roy Snarey, group divisional Officer Ray Dew and the station's commander Nicholas Martin, as well as Cr John Tiplady, Barnet's representative on the London Fire and Civil Defence Association.
After meeting the firefighters of Green Watch Mrs Thatcher saw the men in action in a mock-up of a road traffic accident and fire involving a bus and two cars.
Mrs Thatcher was fascinated as the firemen rescued passengers from the top deck of the bus and used cutting equipment to free a trapped driver.
Mrs Thatcher said the demonstration was “terrific” .
She then went to the forward control unit where she had an opportunity to try out a thermal image camera while sub-officer Charles Easson and leading fireman Keith Passant explained how the revolutionary heat-seeking equipment works.
She was clearly impressed by the recently upgraded facilities of the training centre. Divisional officer in charge of the training centre “Jack” Frost, gave a conducted tour of the building which includes lecture rooms and a fully-fitted gymnasium.
The centre's PT instructors Pan Poullais and Sidney Platt demonstrated some of the gym's equipment and explained the firemen's fitness training programme. Mrs Thatcher praised the fitness training programme and said fitness was important to firemen. She told them: “If you are a fire-fighter you have got to keep fit. You cannot do the job effectively unless you are in shape.”
In another lecture room the PM met men on a fire-fighters refresher course and was shown a first aid demonstration of resuscitation techniques. To round off her visit she paused for a cup of tea. Before leaving she was presented with a London Fire Brigade crystal glass paperweight.
In the evening, Mrs Thatcher, president of the Army Benevolent Fund, met members of the committee at Finchley Conservative Association in Ballards Lane.
Among those present were commandant of the Inglis Barracks in Mill Hill, Col Peter Westcott, the adjutant at the barracks, Capt Jim Donovan, and committee Chairman Dennis Signy and his wife Pat.
Mrs Thatcher was presented with a cheque for £11,380 for the fund—money raised by the committee last year. She thanked the committee and congratulated them on the success of their fund-raising efforts.