New wheelchair for Joby thanks to his former firefighter colleagues

Firefighters from Paulton Fire Station have exceeded their fundraising target to help a former colleague.

Since retiring from Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) in 2002, ill health has left Colin Curtis, or ‘Joby’ as he is affectionately known, with a severe disability. He had to have his leg amputated to the hip during major surgery in December 2008, meaning he needs a specialist wheelchair costing around £6,000 to get around.

Back in July his former colleagues at the station decided to launch a fundraising drive to help Joby become mobile again. Events included a car wash, a 12 mile walk from Bath Fire Station to Paulton Fire Station and a fundraising ball.

On Monday 1 November, Watch Manager Gary Hillman and staff from Paulton Fire Station will present Joby with a cheque for £8,000 which will pay for his new wheelchair and refurbishments to his house to ensure he can get around more easily.

Gary said: “It has been a real pleasure to raise this money for Joby. Members of the local community have been so generous in supporting our fundraising. I have no doubt that this new wheelchair will make a huge difference Joby’s life, meaning he can go out and about on his own again.”

Joby joined AF&RS as a retained firefighter in 1979 and attended many hundreds of incidents. Everything from fires and road traffic collisions to being asked to rescue trapped horses and dogs was all in a day’s work for Joby, who was also employed at the former Purnells printworks.

His most memorable episodes include being in such a hurry to arrive at a fire that he accidentally drove the fire engine inside a burning barn; watching a runaway milkfloat crash into his parked fire engine; and also a dramatic brush with death when he was left buried under a pile of rubble when a burning garage exploded.