Selwyn signs off af­ter 50 years

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - ERIN TASKER

A long as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween the Allred fam­ily and the Methven Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade has come to an end this week.

On Mon­day, the bri­gade’s chief fire of­fi­cer Selwyn Allred marked 50 years as a vol­un­teer fire­fighter in the town and re­tired, wav­ing good­bye to some­thing that has been a huge part of his life for a long time.

He was just 18 when he joined, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of both his fa­ther and grand­fa­ther. Selwyn’s grand­fa­ther Arthur Allred was part of the com­mit­tee which set up the Methven Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade in 1924, and his dad was the bri­gade’s chief fire of­fi­cer to the day he died when Selwyn was just 15. Selwyn’s son Mark Allred was also a mem­ber of the bri­gade un­til mov­ing to Aus­tralia.

‘‘The fire bri­gade re­ally is part of your life. I’ve en­joyed it, I re­ally have, it’s been great and it’s not only the fire bri­gade and work­ing with the team of guys that are here and hav­ing that com­rade­ship. It’s the con­fer­ences and com­pe­ti­tions you go to and meet up with ev­ery­one else and the friend­ships you make there. It’s just a great way to meet peo­ple,’’ Selwyn said.

Selwyn joined af­ter be­ing ap­proached by for­mer mem­ber Dave Ed­ding­ton.

‘‘I was work­ing at Small­bones as a me­chanic in those days, and he said ‘do you want to come along to a prac­tise?’, and while I was there I was signed up. It was as easy as that,’’ Selwyn said.

‘‘It was so much sim­pler in those days, be­cause all you were do­ing was fight­ing fires, whereas now fires are only part of the job.’’

Today, the Methven Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade at­tends around 100 call-outs a year. They fight fires, at­tend car crashes and res­cues, and turn out for alarm ac­ti­va­tions and the odd med­i­cal as­sist.

‘‘And that’s good, be­cause it’s good help­ing the com­mu­nity. Thats what we joined for.’’

If some­one had told him when he signed on as an 18-year-old that he’d still be there 50 years later, he wouldn’t have be­lieved them. But he wouldn’t change a thing.

For 21-years, he has served as chief. For the 21 years be­fore that, Davey An­der­son was the chief. Now, his son Brent An­der­son has taken over as the new chief.

For Selwyn, re­tire­ment will al­low for more time with his fam­ily – in­clud­ing his five grand­chil­dren – and his other big love in life, travel. First on the list, is a salmon fish­ing trip to Alaska. From there the pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less.

ERIN TASKER/STUFF

Selwyn Allred cel­e­brates 50 years with the Methven Vol­un­teer Fire Bri­gade this week by re­tir­ing.

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