Across Europe, from Romania to the UK – more specifically from Sighisoara to Shropshire – there is a fraternity between the fire services of our different countries.
On Saturday I was privileged to attend a ceremony to hand over three fire engines donated by the people of Shropshire for use in Mures and Brasov counties as part of a long-standing partnership that has been developed by the Mihai Eminescu Trust.
The team from the Shropshire Fire Service set out from the UK last week and were hosted by two fire stations in Germany and one in Hungary as they drove the three engines across Europe to their new home in Romania. Here I hope that the fire engines can help protect the unique architectural heritage in Romania’s ancient towns and villages.
The fire service has also been equipping homes with smoke detectors and villages with fire pumps as part of a wider strategy for improving fire safety.
This partnership began with tourists from the UK coming to cities like Sighisoara and Brasov and being amazed by the astounding beauty of the buildings and touched by the hospitality of the inhabitants. I was impressed that for some of them, it was not enough to visit the buildings and enjoy the hospitality, but to respond by taking action and raising funds to preserve and protect this heritage.
They also returned the hospitality by inviting Romanian craftsmen back to Shropshire and encouraging British traditional craftsmen to study alongside their Romanian colleagues.
There has been a lot of talk about the principle of ‘solidarity’ in Europe. Here it is in practice.