Bishop leads ceremony 100ft in the air

A Northamptonshire vicar rose 100ft into the air to become officially licensed as the chaplain of the county’s fire and rescue service.

The Rev Rod Lee was licenced as chaplain by the Bishop of Brixworth, the Rt Reverend John Holbrook, on top of a Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service aerial appliance in the yard of Moulton Fire Station.

Mr Lee has been chaplain for the fire service for five years, but had to be re-licensed after he recently retired from his parish in Corby.

He said: “I asked for a parachute but I didn’t get one. However I am generally not too bad with heights and it was something different.

“I love being the chaplain for the fire service. It is a great big family environment with genuine people with no airs and graces.

“It’s a very interesting position too and also interesting to see the advancements in technology within the service.”

Chief fire officer, Martyn Emberson, said the service wanted to make the licensing ceremony memorable for the chaplain.

He added: “We wanted to give him an experience of the service that he would never forget.

“We thought we would make it a bit different and give him a chance to do something he has probably never done before.”

The combined aerial ladder platform is a hi-tech device 
often used by the fire service during incidents and is one of only two in the county.

The device is remote-controlled and can be fitted with infra-red cameras to gain thermal image scans of premises on fire.

Mr Emberson said: “This device is invaluable to the service for fighting very large fires and getting access to high places.”

The Bishop of Brixworth, the Rt Rev John Holbrook, said: “It was amazing to be in the aerial device and it gave a great view of Northampton.

“It is the strangest place I have ever carried out a licensing.

“Rod has been made to feel very welcome by the fire service and has been taken into their hearts.

“It’s really exciting to officially license him as chaplain.

“It’s lovely that the fire service have invited us in to share their work and their lives. To be alongside the fire service is really quite special.”

Mr Emberson said: “We really appreciate the chaplain’s help in the fire service family as there are lots of challenges these days and people to support.”