With the city of Leicester twinning with Krefeld in Germany, Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service send over a team of firefighters each year to take part in a set of games – this year was the 43rd visit. Twenty firefighters arrived on 14 April and were greeted by Krefeld Chief Fire Officer Dietmar Meissner. He welcomed the twinning friendship and hoped the visit, which began with a games of tug of war which Krefeld won and a barbeque for everyone to feast on, would be enjoyed.
On the following day (15 April), the team were given a tour of Krefeld’s new spectacular fire station and headquarters. The Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Andreas Klos, allowed the team full access to the building which cost a staggering €35million to build. This modern emergency service building has all their key services on one site; fire appliance and paramedic ambulance bays, fire control, workshops, stores, breathing apparatus servicing, volunteer firefighter equipment, a high rise training house, gas powered fire apparatus as well as a gym and small all-weather pitch.
During the tour the Chief Fire Officer, Mr Meissner, announced that before joining the fire service he was a bricklayer and he had decided to create a wall of honour for all retiring firefighters in Krefeld. As recognition of the friendship between the two cities and to thank Watch Manager Martin Bee for his commitment to twinning since 1997, he was awarded the first brick in their wall – a very kind gesture that marked his last official visit before retiring.
At the end of the tour another announcement was made. The team were informed that the entrance of Krefeld’s new fire station was being named Bob Miller Platz (Bob Miller Place) after firefighter Bob Miller who visited Krefeld on many twinning occasions. He sadly lost his life, aged 44, in a fire in Leicester in 2002. Chief Fire Officer Dietmar Meissner, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andreas Klos and Ulf Tabbert, a retired firefighter, were the only people that knew about this special presentation. Everyone was deeply moved by this kind, thoughtful memorable gesture to Bob and were happy it took place in Krefeld. Soon after the games continued in a nearby snow dome with Leicester winning the sledging.
On Saturday (16 April) the team revisited the new fire station and were introduced to the new Mayor of Krefeld, Frank Meier, who officially welcomed them on behalf of the people of Krefeld. He then started the days challenges which began with a five a side football match for the long standing Ulf Tabbert and Jerry Askham Trophy, which Krefeld went on to win 2-1.
Finally, there was the firefighters challenge where four firefighters from Krefeld went up against four firefighters from Leicester in pulling a fire appliance, running up their training tower (7 floors) hauling aloft hose, running down the tower to the fire engine and putting a fire out. Krefeld took 6:01 mins Leicester took 5:20 mins – great result by the team!
The evening was spent with many presentations and commitments to the longstanding friendship between the two cities at a pub owned by Robert Obertreis, who had visited Leicester and spent time at the Old Horse on London Road. A special presentation also went to Krefeld firefighter Frank Peters for supporting firefighters in Leicester.
The team returned Sunday 17 April having once again spent an amazing time with our Krefeld firefighter friends and family.