HEROES' MONUMENT UNVEILED AT NEW HOME

Firefighters' efforts to rescue a monument to their fallen colleagues from disrepair were repaid when a new landmark was unveiled in the grounds of West Yorkshire Fire Service headquarters, Birkenshaw.

Thanks to over 25,000 raised by the county's firefighters the monument, which honours six firefighters who lost their lives at a huge blaze at the Low Moor munitions works during the First World War, can now be seen from Bradford Road.

The statue arrived last week and lay in the grounds while work on the site, in the north east corner of the headquarters' impressive grounds, were undertaken.

The monument is now in place and final work to the foundations and plinth will soon be complete. A dedication ceremony is planned for the near future at a date to be announced.

The statue, which features a firefighter in uniform, had been in Scholemoor Cemetery, Bradford, at the site of the graves of the heroic firefighters, who were among 39 fatalities on August 21 1916 at the Low Moor explosion.

It had suffered deterioration and damage over time but has now been cleaned and restored to its former glory.

Further restorations were carried out on the graves at Scholemoor as part of the project.

The money for the scheme was raised by firefighters through sponsored events, collections and other fundraising activities including a 274-mile cycling challenge.

Deputy fire chief Kevin Arbuthnot said: "The campaign to save the statue from falling into total disrepair galvanised the whole West Yorkshire brigade.

"We had hoped to complete the move much earlier but so many organisations, from Bradford Council to planning authorities and diocesan bodies, had to grant their support and the timescale slipped.

"However what matters is that firefighters' memories will be better honoured by the new prominence and location of their well deserved monument, and the brigade will have a focus for future remembrance ceremonies."

By Marie-Claire Kidd