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THE building of a new community fire and ambulance station in Wigan is underway and today a steel signing ceremony took place to mark the occasion.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) and North West Ambulance Service’s (NWAS) joint venture with the selected contractor, Willmott Dixon, is on track after Wigan Council’s planners gave the project the green light in July 2016.
On Friday, October 14, 2016, representatives from GMFRS and NWAS were joined by dignitaries and local schoolchildren at the event where a steel beam was signed by attendees and fixed into the structure of the new building during the steel erection phase of construction.
Year 6 St Mark's CE Primary School pupils with Wigan Red Watch and NWAS staff members
Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: “This joint venture is fantastic news for GMFRS, NWAS and the people of Wigan, who will benefit from several features, which will include a community room and a gymnasium.
“The project means we can further improve our relationship with the ambulance service as well as make financial savings over the years, similarly to the projects in Irlam and at our Philips Park site, which already sees fire and ambulance work together.”
Attendees at the event from GMFRS included: ACFO Geoff Harris, Group Manager Lee Coleman, Station Manager Wayne Van Hecke, Red Watch firefighters and project manager, Paul Massay.
Opening the ceremony, ACFO Harris, Director of Prevention and Protection, said: “This is a great opportunity for collaboration work between GMFRS and NWAS as we strive towards saving even more lives together.”
A number of staff members from NWAS attended, including: Steve Hynes, Head of Service for Greater Manchester, David McNichol, Estates Manager, and a number of ambulance service staff.
NWAS’ Steve Hynes, Greater Manchester Head of Service, adds: “The station at this site has always been a landmark for the area and the new building will be a fantastic addition for both services and the community.
“Both Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and North West Ambulance Service have worked together to come up with a site which will become a flagship for both our organisations and will be something we can all be proud of.”
Ten children from nearby St Mark’s CE Primary School also came along to the event, with each child signing the girder, and were joined by many others, including The Mayor and Mayoress of Wigan, Councillor Ron Conway and Mrs Janet Conway and Wigan Fire Authority Member, Councillor Fred Walker.
After signing the girder attendees watched as the piece of steel was lifted by a crane and fitted into the structure of the new building.
Wigan firefighters and officers are working from temporary accommodation which serves as a fully functioning fire station for crew to work from until the new station is open.
The station will replace the existing community fire station in Robin Park Road in the centre of Wigan and will see firefighters and paramedics work side-by-side from the site, which is expected to open in summer 2017.
You can see more photos from the steel signing ceremony on GMFRS’ Flickr site here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskFiqXpU