Local Face: John Firmin

  |  Published: Jun 1st 1997

John Firmin was born in 1935 in number 8 (now 17), Pound Street, the same house where his mother had been born. His abiding childhood memory is that whenever he walked down Wendover High Street, he knew everybody he met. This is no longer true. He attended Wendover CofE School near the Clocktower and remembers Headmaster Figg Edgington whose photograph adorns the library of the current Wendover C of E Middle School.

When John left school, his first job was as Van Boy for Dean's Grocers in South Street, now converted to Ropemaker's Cottage. When he was old enough, Jack Dean taught him to drive and then he was called up for 2 years National Service. After basic training, John was assigned to the Royal Army Medical Corps but his experience led to a posting as driver of the fire engine at Connaught Hospital, Hindhead, Surrey. When he returned to civvy street, Jack Dean promoted him to Van driver.

On 5th May 1956, John married Marlene Lucas from Tonbridge, Kent and he left Pound Street to set up home in Tring Road where they live to this very day. John turned to lorry driving to help feed the six children who were subsequently born. He was also in the retained brigade at Wendover Fire Station until 1963 when the opportunity arose to join the Ministry of Defence Fire Service at RAP Halton. In 1981, John and Marlene celebrated their silver wedding anniversary with a special service in St George's Church, RAF Halton. John retired from the Fire Station at RAF Halton in 1994 after nearly 32 years service.

By 1969 the children were beginning to grow up and John was looking for a sport to play. Eventually he lighted upon the Wendover and Chiltern Hills Bowls Club in Dobbins Lane. By 1970 he was appointed Gre.en Keeper as his shift work made him available for this daytime duty. He is now a Trustee and Chairman.

John's mother, Christina, had been a Parish Councillor for Wendover since the 1950's but in 1982 she decided it was time to step down and suggested that John might like to stand. In the next ballot, he was duly elected. Since then he has played many roles, always trying to look after the interests of Wendover. It was during John's stewardship of the Recreation Committee that Wendover Mother and Toddler Club became very concerned about the provision of play equipment and play surfaces. This was the type of project he has always encouraged because it keeps Wendover in the vanguard of new development. The rolling programme of improvements instituted at that time continues to this day.

In 1994, John was elected to the Chair of Wendover Parish Council and has just been re-elected for another annual term of office. He has really enjoyed this role. He drops into the Clocktower everyday so that he can liaise with Jane Toplis, Clerk to Wendover Parish Council. Furthermore, he represents the Parish at many functions including events at RAF Halton, a Buckingham Palace Royal Garden Party, a guest at the Lord Mayor's Show. Last year John and his wife were feted when the Liffrean hosts discovered that the date of the visit, 5th May, 1996, was their 40th wedding anniversary. This was during the exchange to celebrate 20 years of twinning with Wendover. Most recently, John's name has been put forward as a Trustee for the WAG (Wendover Action Group) Car. He is very proud that this is only the first project for Wendover.

You will have an opportunity to meet John Firmin at the Wendover Parish Council Charity Market which is happening on the Manor Waste from 9.15am on Saturday 14th June. There will be lots of entertainment. . . . . . .. Be there!

One eternal ambition has still to be cracked: educating all the dog owners in Wendover to make sure they leave no evidence!

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