Fitting tribute to former firefighter and lifelong Raith Rovers fan Bert Stewart
A little bit of Stark’s Park is saving lives 7000 miles away in memory of a lifelong Raith Rovers fan.
Two fire engines have been delivered to stations in Argentina by the International Fire and Rescue Association (IFRA), based in Thornton, where Rovers die hard Bert Stewart volunteered.
The IFRA was established twenty years ago as a charity in 2002 and supports and assists firefighters and emergency services worldwide, relying on fundraising and donations.
Tragically, Bert died in June last year after an accident and now one of the engines in South America bears his name, the other that of his beloved football team.
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David Kay, chairman of the IFRA, said he hoped it was a fitting tribute.
"Bert was a lifelong Raith Rovers fan,” he said.
"He had retired from the Fife fire service after 27 years in 2016 and I roped him into joining us.
"We had two fire engines which we were sending to Argentina and Bert had served there as an instructor for the IFRA.
"We thought it would be a fitting tribute to name a fire engine that was going there after him.
"We told the fire station that we were sending it to that we were calling the engine 'Bert Stewart', but the other station went up in arms because that's what they wanted their engine to be named.
"Bert was as much loved and respected over there as he was here. He had also worked as an instructor in Paraguay.
"So we had this dilemma that both stations wanted their engines named in memory of the guy that had gone there to help them out.
"So I thought what if we call one of them ‘Raith Rovers’? That wasn't easy for me because I'm a Pars supporter!
“But as Bert was a lifelong Raith Rovers supporter we thought it would be nice for both engines to be dedicated to him in some way.“
Both newly-named engines 104 and 105 cleared customs in Argentina this week and are now on their way to their stations where they will be saving lives in Bert's name.
Mr Kay added: “We got in touch with Raith Rovers who thought it was an amazing idea and we've had a lot of support from fans as well which has been great.”
"I want to thank the club and the supporters very much for backing us in this venture in honour of Bert.”