Family finds heritage haul of local fire and police legend

A family have stumbled across a ‘box of delights’ containing priceless memories of a beloved father, grandad and great-grandad.

By David Sedgwick
Friday, 28th January 2022, 9:00 am
Scott Andrews and Wilf Andrews with various pic of their father and grandad plus Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Andrews's MBE.

Scott Andrews and his dad Wilf recently rediscovered a selection of nostalgic treasures featuring Wilfred Andrews Snr – who is remembered as being a local law enforcement and fire service legend.

In 1957 at the age of 48, Wilfred Andrews Snr – who was born and bred in Blyth – received an MBE for his services to the local community from Her Majesty the Queen.

Wilfred Andrews started off his blue light career in 1932 as a Police Constable in Tynemouth before a busy and aspiring 13-years of activity in the Fire Service working his way up the vocational ladder.

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Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Andrews MBE.

Wilfred Andrews Jnr, 83, of Holywell, said: “As a little lad growing up in North Tyneside I had to always keep my nose clean and be careful what I did as everyone knew my dad.”

During the early years of Wilf’s life he quite literally lived and breathed the fire service as he lived at North Shields Fire Station with his parents until he was three-years old.

Wilf said: “It was quite good growing up in a fire service family. I used to go down to a number of the fire stations with my dad.

"I loved all of the different yarns he used to spin about the fire brigade including dramatic stories about some of the fires he’d attended.

An image of the vintage Dennis fire engine that led Wilfred Andrews’s funeral cortege in 1990. The very appliance that he also drove up to Tynemouth from the Guildford in 1951.

“I remember him talking about when he collected a brand new fire engine and drove it all the way up to the North East.”

Wilf chose the world of leisure and entertainment for a career, playing a major role in Spanish City, Whitley Bay, where he worked for Miller’s Amusements alongside his sister Una before going on to own The Plaza in Tynemouth, the Victorian building overlooking Long Sands being destroyed in a devastating blaze back in 1996.

Wilf added: “I’ve always been very proud of me dad, and for what he achieved.”

Wilfred’s MBE hangs with pride of place in Wilf’s home office.

It accompanies the other heritage items of the Defence medal, the Certificate from Her Majesty the Queen (that came with the MBE), and a selection of wonderful archive photographs from yesteryear – that they recently rediscovered.

Scott Andrews, 50, who grew up in Whitley Bay and currently lives in North Shields, said: “When the bairns were little, for Show and Tell, they would proudly take family memorabilia to school about their Great Grandad Wilfred.

"Their class mates always liked to hear the fascinating stories passed down through the generations about the police and fire service.

“It’s all about the importance of family. We are always talking about our Grandad as he’s an integral part of our history.

"We’re extremely lucky to have someone who lived life to the full and had an amazing lifetime of stories to share with us.”

Martin Farrow, Service Delivery Manager for Tynemouth Community Fire Station at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It was a great privilege for Wilf, Scott and his family to share their special nostalgic memories with us.

“We are very proud of our fire service heritage and especially of people who’ve made such a difference in yesteryear that has helped us become what we are today.”