Tribute to former firefighter unveiled at Rushden Fire Station

Rushden crew manager Steve Mason with Eddie's widow Audrey Hitcham and four generations of the family
Rushden crew manager Steve Mason with Eddie's widow Audrey Hitcham and four generations of the family

Four generations of a family proudly watched on as a memorial to a former firefighter was unveiled.

The family of Eddie Hitcham gathered for the official unveiling of the cabinet filled with fire service memorabilia at Rushden Fire Station.

Eddie was a firefighter for 25 years and despite being out of the fire service for more than 20 years when he died in 2015, he was given a full fire brigade funeral.

Eddie’s wife Audrey was totally surprised when she found out they wanted to have a memorial for Eddie at the station, but also very proud.

She said: “The main reason was because Eddie was very interested in fire service history.

“He has done the history for the whole of Rushden fire service and it is in Rushden Museum at Hall Park.

Eddie receiving his 25-year service medal

Eddie receiving his 25-year service medal

“He was also responsible for naming the road when the new fire station was built.”

Eddie’s suggestion was to name the road after William Foskett, who was the first captain of the town’s fire service back in the 1800s, and the road went on to become Foskett Close.

The majority of the items in the cabinet are fire service memorabilia that Eddie had, including a helmet which belonged to Captain Foskett.

Audrey said old photos of fire chiefs through the years hang on the walls of Rushden Fire Station, also donated by Eddie, and she added: “He lived and breathed the fire service.

The unveiling at Rushden Fire Station

The unveiling at Rushden Fire Station

“But we were totally surprised by this.

“I keep asking the question - why Eddie?

“But I just get told he was such a special person.

“As a family we are just overawed by it all, but very proud.”

Eddie died in November 2015 following a four-year battle with motor neurone disease.

He was given a full fire brigade funeral in recognition of his excellent service and his old fire engine led the procession.

To read more about the history of Rushden’s fire brigade, as recorded by Eddie, click here