A fairytale wedding in Dumfries and Galloway

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Drummore firefighter marries her fiance one year after receiving an award for helping to rescue him from a serious road traffic collision.

Ff Vanessa Appleton
Pic: Pete Robinson

A firefighter who rescued her boyfriend from a serious car crash married him at a ceremony in Dumfries and Galloway this weekend.  

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews formed a guard of honour for Firefighter Vanessa Appleton and Kevin Compton as the newlywed couple left the High Kirk in Stranraer on Saturday (26 April).

Their big day came 18 months after Kevin was flown to hospital with serious head injuries following a collision that saw Vanessa’s crew sent to the scene.

Firefighters released the mechanic from the wreckage and moved him to an air ambulance, but doctors warned his loved ones that the severity of his injuries meant they should prepare for the worst.

Kevin, now 22, survived and recovered - marrying Vanessa a year to the day after she was awarded the Chief Officer’s Commendation for her actions at the scene of the crash.

Area Manager Alan Fairbairn, local senior officer for Dumfries and Galloway, said: “Vanessa and Kevin have obviously faced challenges none of us would ever wish to encounter and I’m delighted their story has a happy outcome.

“When Firefighter Appleton was mobilised to the crash she already suspected it involved Kevin as he had only just left her home.

“Despite finding her boyfriend severely injured she remained calm, followed her training and was part of the team that successfully freed him from the car and got him safely to hospital.

“Firefighters on both our auxiliary units and the retained duty system provide fire and rescue cover that is absolutely vital to saving lives whenever an emergency arises.

“Their dedication to serving rural communities is made all the more clear by the fact these firefighters take on the role knowing that if they are called to an incident, it is likely to involve someone they know.

“Communities throughout Dumfries and Galloway are incredibly grateful to their firefighters and everyone who knows Vanessa and Kevin will wish them the very best for a long and happy future together.”

As an auxiliary firefighter trained and prepared to respond to a wide range of emergencies, Vanessa holds regular employment but commits to providing her community with an essential emergency service.

In addition to working at a family caravan park in Drummore, the 23-year-old also attends regular training sessions with her SFRS colleagues to ensure the crew develops and maintains the firefighting, rescue and casualty care skills needed for any emergency.

Watch Manager Irvine Beck, the commanding officer of the Drummore crew, formed part of the honour guard at the wedding.

He said: “We are all thrilled for Vanessa and Kevin. This is a small, rural community and our team is very close-knit.

“It was great to be part of their big day and on behalf of the whole crew I’d like to send our congratulations and very best wishes.”

The newly-married couple, who have been together for around two years, are set to fly to Egypt on honeymoon.

Firefighters who serve on the retained duty system receive an annual fee in return for their commitment as well as additional payments for every incident and training night they attend.

Information on how to become a retained firefighter can be found by visiting the myjobscotland website and searching for ‘Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’.