Poppy tribute to go ahead without FBU
A POIGNANT tribute to Suffolk's war dead will go ahead this weekend despite fears it could be abandoned after firefighters called a strike on Sunday.Suffolk Fire Service had been expected to provide a turn-table ladder to drop poppies on crowds taking part in a two minute silence in Ipswich town centre on Sunday .
A POIGNANT tribute to Suffolk's war dead will go ahead this weekend despite fears it could be abandoned after firefighters called a strike on Sunday.
Suffolk Fire Service had been expected to provide a turn-table ladder to drop poppies on crowds taking part in a two minute silence in Ipswich town centre on Sunday .
However, Firefighters Bridges Union (FBU) members will be on strike between 3pm and 7pm coinciding with the outdoor Drumhead service and veteran's parade-leaving senior fire service mangers with no option but to shelve the plans.
However now Claydon company Sky High Access has come forward and offered a platform to drop the poppies over the crowds at the Cornhill.
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Royal British Legion (RBL) Ipswich Branch chairman Peter Thompson was delighted the event had been saved.
He said: "We were very disappointed when the FBU called the strike to coincide with the service – our event was already planned and they knew about it.
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"However it is wonderful that John Woodhouse (boss of Sky High Access) stepped in to help us. We are very grateful – and he offered the platform at no cost at all."
The decision does mean, however, that firefighters will not be paying tribute to their colleagues from wartime years.
Mr Thompson said: "The National Fire service played such a great part of the home front and lost so many lives I thought it would be a way to say thank you to their comrades."
Mr Woodhouse had been delighted to step in after he heard about the threat to the service.
He said: "I know events like this involve a great deal of planning and the RBL was clearly disappointed to be let down at the last minute.
"We were happy to offer our platform which should be just the ticket for them. It can go up 87 feet and that's higher than the turntable ladder," he said.
Carl Francis, FBU officers section representative said the union had no idea the turntable ladder had been expected to drop poppies.
He added: "We have great regard for organisations such as the Royal British Legion but we are striking to stop cuts to emergency response posts and defend safe operating procedures.
"We are disappointed we are not able to attend but we are committed to striking to protect the community which includes members of the RBL."
Mr Thompson added: "We will sort it out somehow we might drop poppies from the town hall balcony, it won't be the same though."