Our People: Tim Stephen receives a Gold Star

Cargo Handler and Volunteer Firefighter Peter Lauryssens awarding Tim with his Gold Star.

LPC Foreman Tim Stephen has just celebrated 25 years as a volunteer for the Lyttelton Fire Brigade and was also presented a life membership medal.

Born in Lyttelton, Tim is proud to be giving back to his local community.

He first joined in 1985 at the age of 17 and volunteered for four years.

“My neighbour was a member and inspired me to join,” says Tim.

“It comes with a bit of responsibility, which sent me in the right direction. I think it’s good for young people to be a part of something like that.”

The brigade covers the Lyttelton area and provides backup for Governors Bay, Diamond Harbour, Woolston and Sumner.

“There is a lot of risk around Lyttelton, so it’s an important resource to have.”

“I remember when one of the tanks at the tank farm exploded. It blew the roof right off; that was a stand-out call, along with many others.”

Tim left after four years when he moved out of Lyttelton, but moving back to Heathcote later in life meant he was close enough to join the team again.

“I’m glad I did re-join. There’s a real sense of community; everything is a team effort.

During this time, Tim also got to cross the ditch for training.

“I went to a training facility in Australia with Brad Fletcher for two weeks with emergency responders from a range of places.

Tim has also participated in the Skytower Challenge in both the team and support crew roles.

“I have completed the challenge three times; one year, I raised over $10,000 – now I’m part of the support crew.” But cover is available and ensures we can respond.

Joining the brigade is a big commitment, Tim explains.

“The brigade is on standby 24/7 and you are on-call every second weekend, which means you are expected to be within a certain distance. I think this puts a lot of people off joining but cover is available when you need it and this ensures we can respond to emergencies.”

After all these years, he still feels the instant rush of adrenaline when the siren goes off.

“You could be responding to one of a million things. As a first responder, the pressure is on to get there.

“It takes us little time once we get to the station to get ready and get out the door.”

With the brigade’s 150th anniversary coming up in October, Tim has no plans to retire just yet.

“Getting to the gold star is quite a feat – who would have thought I would be doing it for 25 years.

“I’m the 35th person in the Lyttelton Brigades history to be presented a Gold Star.

“I would also like to thank LPC for supporting the brigade over the years.”

Subscribe for the latest Port news

Website design and development by BECK & CAUL