Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) officers have thanked The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) for a generous donation in aid of two charities close to firefighters’ hearts.
Members of the leading professional body for architects raised £1,500 at the RIAS Annual Dinner in June and offered the sum to SFRS for charities providing essential help to current and former fire service personnel and their families.
The decision to support charities linked to SFRS was made as a gesture of appreciation for firefighters’ efforts to prevent a blaze destroying Glasgow’s iconic Mackintosh Building in May.
As a result both The Fire Fighters Charity and the SFRS Family Support Trust each received £750 to help them continue their vital works.
Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) Dave Boyle, director of service delivery in the West of Scotland, said: “We are very grateful to receive this donation from The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, which will go towards two outstanding charities.
“The fire at the Mackintosh touched a great many people and it has brought together communities like architects, artists, Historic Scotland and the fire and rescue service.
“We appreciate the recognition that has been given for the work of the firefighters – the first responding crews and officers in particular did an absolutely magnificent job – and there is certainly a greater understanding of the vital role they do.
“The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland invited us to their annual dinner and presented an award for protecting Scotland’s architectural heritage.
“Each year they place envelopes on the tables for their members and guests to make a charitable donation and this year they kindly offered to make our charities the beneficiaries.
“I would like to thank them for their generous support, which will go to our own Family Support Trust and The Fire Fighters Charity and allow them help fire service personnel and their families in times of need.”
ACO Boyle welcomed RIAS president Iain Connelly and secretary Neil Baxter to the SFRS City of Glasgow Headquarters on Tuesday (29 July).
Crews from the attached Cowcaddens Community Fire Station – who were the first responders to the Mackintosh fire on 23 May – also attended the cheque presentation and informal lunch.
Mr Connelly said: “To people around the world the Mackintosh is an iconic building and the architects of Scotland are hugely grateful for the work the fire and rescue service did.
“There is no doubt in my mind the building and its artefacts could have been completely destroyed had it not been for the firefighters.
“Their efforts went way beyond the call of duty and it was fantastic to see them receive a standing ovation at our annual dinner when we made the presentation of the award to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
“I am delighted to be here to make this small gesture of thanks in support of their charities and I hope the bond that exists between our organisations will continue and develop in the future.”
Accepting the donations were ACO Robert Scott, a trustee of The Fire Fighters Charity, and Area Manager Paul Connelly, the vice-chair of the SFRS Family Support Trust.
ACO Scott, who is also director of service delivery in the north of Scotland, said: “I’d like to say thanks to The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland for this donation.
“The Fire Fighters Charity is a national charity that provides respite care and supports firefighters across the UK when they need it most, and it requires £9m a year to keep it going.
“All that money is raised through firefighters’ charitable work and through donations such as this. It really means a lot to us and this money will be well spent to help firefighters across Scotland.”
Area Manager Connelly, the local senior officer for East and West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute, added: “The Family Support Trust helps firefighters and their families on a daily basis and this money will be very well used.
“We have a summer trip coming up for 70 or 80 fire service widows who obviously know all about the loss that can be endured through fires.
“The Trust is in the process of being rolled out across the length and breadth of Scotland and this donation will help in that regard.”
RIAS secretary and treasurer Neil Baxter added: “At the school of art fire I got a call from an architect in Barcelona who was about to be interviewed by Catalan media. He said it was the most important building in Europe.
“I didn’t appreciate until I got there how dreadful a fire it was. There were people standing in the street in tears.
“It was just an awful event to be witness too and we were so enormously grateful the day after when we learned just how much the firefighters, through incredible concerted effort and a very brilliant strategy, had managed to save.
“The architects of Scotland have now formed a relationship with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and it’s something we want to perpetuate.”
Information on The Fire Fighters Charity can be found on its website: http://www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/.
To find out more about the SFRS Family Support Trust, visit its website: