Firemen leave big boots to fill

Cambridge Fire Chief Don Gerrand, centre, with retiring firemen Don Weinberg, left, and Andrew Goodwin.

A sizeable chunk of experience is departing the Cambridge Volunteer Fire Brigade as two of its long-standing members retire.

Don Weinberg and Andrew Goodwin have jointly amassed more than 66 years’ service with the brigade. They are leaving ‘big boots to fill’, said Cambridge fire chief Don Gerrand.

“They’re ‘old school’ … always turn up, are always willing to do their bit for the community.  It’s hard to beat that kind of commitment,” he said.

First to go is Don Weinberg, who officially signed off after 31 years on December 31.  He joined because he was looking for something where he could pitch in with the community and he’s loved almost every moment.  “It’s a big commitment, make no mistake, but I’ve done my time.”

Fellow retiree Andrew Goodwin draws a line under his 35 years plus on February 27.  He joined his dad Keith in the brigade and says there’s nothing to match it anywhere. “This is one of the best brigades in the country. The workload keeps going up – we’ve had over 68 calls already this year, and over 460 last year. That a huge increase on numbers from when I joined.”

Both men have been involved in some of the region’s biggest fire events and have helped pass on their knowledge to newer and younger members. They say what’s learned at the brigade instils in its members a sense of commitment, camaraderie and loyalty that filters through to other parts of their lives, making them better all-round members of society.  They also praised the business community for supporting the brigade and enabling members to leave work at the sound of the siren.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without the support of the wider community,” said Don.

Don Gerrand was the Cambridge News’ Person of the Year in 2021

Andrew said that whatever a member puts into the brigade comes back two-fold in terms of satisfaction.  “It’s like having another family.”

Fire chief Don said the departure of the two men leaves a couple of gaps in volunteer numbers. Anyone who lives locally, can respond to callouts during the day, and is prepared to commit to the brigade is welcome to contact him on 0274 947 362.

Read: Don humbled by award.

More Recent News

We’re on a roll…

Rock ‘n’ roll is here to stay if the response to Saturday’s inaugural dance competition at Lake Karāpiro is any indication. Mary Anne Gill was there and took these photos. Organisers say the inaugural Stars…

Waipā: June election

It’s a yes from one, and “I’m thinking about it” from the other. The two Waipā Māori ward candidates who finished behind the now resigned councillor Takena Stirling last year could both be contenders again…

Focus on council attendance

Takena Stirling’s resignation from Waipā District Council has sparked media stories about his attendance at meetings. Read: Councillor resigns Stirling missed seven of 11 meetings since December  – two of which were to represent the…

Challenge for i-Site

Cambridge’s i-Site faces an uncertain future with the resignation of its chief executive, the loss of a major income stream and indecision about future council funding. Michelle ‘Miff’ Macdiarmid has resigned from Destination Cambridge, the…