Special wall mural revealed to mark station's 50 years in town

A wall mural to mark the 50th anniversary of Whittlesey Fire Station has been revealed at a surprise unveiling in front of the station’s firefighters.

The mural, designed by artists Tim Shuker-Yates, 46, and Kyle Warwick, 24, from the Girton Youth Project, was commissioned for the side wall of the station as part of this year’s 50th anniversary celebrations which included a popular open day back in June.

The design, which has been done over a period of two weeks and has taken about eight hours to paint, was covered by a giant dust sheet whilst it was being completed.

Artists Tim and Kyle designed the mural to make it look as though the engine is moving by blurring around the edges to give a sense of movement. They added a banner at the top, marking the station’s 50 years in the town between 1967 and 2017. The number plate on the engine, A18 999, was personalised to Whittlesey as well – with the A18 referring to the station’s call sign.

Station Commander Giles Grainger unveiled the design to firefighters - many of whom had not seen the mural until that point - during their drill night.

SC Grainger said: “I am proud that Whittlesey is the only fire station in the whole of the county to have commissioned a mural.

“The station means so much to everybody here and the community of Whittlesey which was demonstrated by the recent fantastic turnout we had for the open day in June and I hope that this mural serves as a reminder to everybody in Whittlesey of the excellent service provided by all of our men and women at the station.”

Watch Commander Mark Brown added: “The mural is a bit different and is a reminder of the 50 years the station has been on this site. It personalises, and is unique to, the station.”

Artists Tim and Kyle have been working together for five years organising street art projects through the Girton Youth Project, working on numerous designs across Cambridgeshire. These have included one of Einstein, commissioned for young pupils at Bar Hill Primary School. They have also designed murals for other schools, Birchanger Woods, the Bateman Street Doctors Surgery in Cambridge and a business in Mildenhall.

Tim has a degree in art and works with young people in art education and is a private counsellor as well as an adolescent counsellor for the charity Red Balloon which supports young people who self-exclude from school and are missing education because of bullying or other trauma. Kyle is a naturally talented artist, who outside of the art projects works as a tattoo artist in Cambridge.

Kyle said: “Street art is relevant to everyone and I am privileged and honoured to have been asked to design this mural for Whittlesey Fire Station.

“For me it’s a progressive thing watching a design unfold from when you first put the lines down to the end and seeing the final product, but obviously we get a lot out of doing it too in terms of satisfaction.”

Tim said: “I really hope the people of Whittlesey will like it and that they have pride in the fire station, especially with its 50th. It’s nice to be involved with the fire service with their work with their local community.

“Street art is cathartic for me and helps relieve stress but there’s also something nice about showing people something. I’ve really enjoyed doing it and we’ve had a few people walk past whilst we were working on it saying it’s really nice.”

Whittlesey Fire Station is staffed by on-call firefighters who are trained professionals who respond to emergencies in their communities alongside their day-to-day lives. They may be at home, work or out and about when they receive a pager alert calling them to an incident. Some have other jobs and respond to 999 emergencies while they are at work thanks to the support of local employers, who recognise the importance of allowing their staff to respond to incidents. There are also benefits to the employer and employee as on-call firefighters receive new skills and training which they may be able to use in their full-time jobs as well.

On-call firefighters have to be aged 18 and over, have a good level of all-round fitness and live or work within a five minute travel time of an on-call fire station.

If you are interested in finding out more about joining Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service as an on-call firefighter at Whittlesey, or any of our other on-call stations, please go to: http://bit.ly/2g0HIOq