Germany’s fire crews of the future visit Tonbridge for trip back in time

Connor and Matt Crawford

Fire cadets from Tonbridge’s twin town Heusenstamm were given a warm welcome by the area’s friendship Circle during a visit to the UK.

Members of the Jugendfeuerwehr group from Germany, who drove a fire truck over from their home base, were given tours of the town’s fire station in Cannon Lane as well as a glimpse back in time during a special tour of the town’s Old Fire Station in Castle Street.

Tonbridge Flood Warden Carl Lewis entered into the spirit of the day by dressing in a Victorian fire uniform to greet the delegation of around 20 cadets, aged 10-16.

Suzannah Niklas, a member of the Heusenstamm Friendship Circle, said: “German cadets have visited before, but not for about eight years. The owners of the Old Fire Station invited them for a barbecue, which they really enjoyed, and we also had Tonbridge Mayor Mark Rhodes there to join in the welcome.

“Kit Denny, who was a German master at The Judd School, acted as a translator for the cadets, who also had the chance to take a river trip as well,” explained Suzannah, who said the cadets were also given a tour of Tonbridge’s present fire station to increase their understanding of emergency service operations.

Mr Lewis added: “The cadets were excited about coming to the fire station and seeing the fire hoses and equipment, and I think they appreciated me coming down in Victorian fire uniform.

“The group also had the chance to see the axe that was presented to the Friendship Circle by Heusenstamm in 1988, which shows there has been a long link between the two towns.”

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