Partnership with Selkirk
Since many years, more precisely since 23rd of May 1998, a strong friendship between Freiwillige Feuerwehr Plattling and Lothian & Borders Fire Brigade Group 9 exists. To our aniversary a delegation of our partner was expected to come to our celebration in September 2013. For this special occasion Chief Officer Alasdair Hay and our honorary member Bob Bertram sent us these friendly greetings:
Dear Fire Brigade Colleagues, friends and the people of Plattling
It is with great pleasure that I address you at this historic time in your town’s history. As a fire officer who served for 30 years in a fire brigade that was formed in 1834 and the first Municipal Fire Brigade in the World; I share in your pride for the celebration of 150 years of fire service to your community.
Being a fire-fighter and the family of a fire-fighter comes not only with the duty and danger, but also the camaraderie and friendships that come from the shared experience in the work that we do, sometimes the tragic and sometimes the humorous. I look back with pleasure not only to my 6 month stay in Plattling as a young man (1965/66) when I served with the Royal Air Force and stayed in the Hotel Preysinghof (learning my German in the Apostle Kellar); but also with much satisfaction and pride to be known as the “father of the partnership”, a reference to my involvement in bringing about the very successful social partnership between FF Plattling and my old brigade Lothian and Borders and subsequently the twinning between the Scottish town of Selkirk and “my second home” Plattling. These partnerships have endured the test of time and have resulted in many exchange visits between Scotland and Bavaria, as well as many personal friendships for individuals and their families.
Although I have medals by “Royal Warrant” from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the medal I have on my right breast has equal place in my heart; being awarded to me by “Der Deutche Feuerwehrverband”, for „Internationale Zusammenarbeit”. Although now retired, I still wear this medal on special occasions with great pride; I am also very proud to be an “Ehrenmitglied der FF Plattling”.
You may be aware that on 1st April this year the eight fire & rescue services in Scotland amalgamated to become the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and no doubt this new service will create its own history. I am personally confident that our fire brigade partnership will continue and be an example of “International Partnership Working” for the new service in Scotland. In closing I would like to quote from a poem by our “national Bard” Robert Burns (1759 – 1796);
„Then let us pray that come it may
As come it will for a‘ that
That Sense and Worth over all the earth
Shall take the prize and all that!
For all that, and all that,
It is coming yet for all that,
That man to man the world over
Shall brothers be for all that.“
I was delighted to be asked to give a message to the FF Platting anniversary book celebrating the long history of the volunteer fire-fighters in Plattling Bavaria.
The timing was quite apt as in the first week of the new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service becoming operational in April; the public here were gripped by the efforts of our own retained, community response and whole time fire-fighters working together to battle extensive wildfires in the highlands and islands of Scotland.
No matter where we work, the bonds that tie those working in the fire and rescue services are strong because we share so many common experiences and an established and proud tradition of fire fighting and community safety activities.
I would like to wish you all the best for your 150th anniversary and commend you for forging such strong bonds between Scotland and Bavaria and our respective members past and present.
Chief Officer Alasdair Hay
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
Servus und “Slainte”
Bob Bertram MBE
Honorary member of FF Plattling