Former Suffolk fire chief dies after suffering from Covid

Terry Miles

Terry Miles was Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk from 1981 to 1991. - Credit: Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

Former Suffolk fire chief Terry Miles has died at the age of 80 in Dorset after suffering from Covid.

Mr Miles was Chief Fire Officer in Suffolk from 1981 to 1991. During his decade leading the service he modernised it and saw some major changes introduced.

He was the chief when the Princes Street Fire Station opened in Ipswich town centre in 1982. That is now being rebuilt as a "blue light hub" to be shared by the fire service and the police.

Mr Miles was born in Dorset in 1941. He joined Dorset Fire Service in 1960 at the age of 19 as a retained firefighter and became a wholetime firefighter the same year. It was not long before he was getting his first promotions.

He transferred to Hampshire on promotion and subsequently to Staffordshire where he was Station Commander at Newcastle under Lyme and Divisional Commander of the South Division. Then in 1979 he became Deputy Chief Officer in Cambridge.

He arrived in Suffolk in 1981and immediately started to modernise the Brigade with new appliances, equipment and protective clothing. He was a keen supporter of the Fire Service Benevolent Fund (now renamed Firefighters Charity) and served on its national council for many years including a term as chair.

A keen fisherman, particularly fly fishing, he was also active within the Fire Service Sports Association serving on its National Executive Committee again including a spell as chair.

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When he retired in 1991 he moved back to his native Dorset with his wife Sheila. He leaves his widow Sheila and his son and daughter.

One of his successors as Chief Fire Officer,  Malcolm Alcock said:  "Terry was a one-off, they broke the mould after him. His contribution to the Fire Service in Suffolk was immense. He had a sharp wit and had always a funny story to tell.

"We have lost a colleague, a mentor and above all a friend. It was a privilege to work with him where I learned my craft. He started the modernisation of Suffolk Fire Service and all of us that followed stood on his shoulders."

Dan Fearn, Interim Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Suffolk’s former Chief Fire Officer Terry Miles. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. Terry was Chief Fire Officer for Suffolk for 10 years until his retirement in 1991.  

"On his retirement both Terry and Principal Administrative Officer Gordon Hammond presented Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service with The Miles Hammond Trophy, which is still awarded annually for a demonstration of excellence by an individual or team during an emergency incident.”

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