Queen’s Birthday Honour For Fire Heritage Stalwart

A volunteer who has dedicated years of service to preserving Merseyside’s fire and rescue history has been named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Danny Murphy, 75, who founded Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MF&RS) Heritage and Education Centre, will be appointed a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire. He will receive a British Empire Medal (BEM).

The former firefighter was named this week on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his heritage work, fundraising efforts and for demonstrating a passion and commitment to making a difference to the lives of others.

Danny’s interest in the fire service started as a child as his father was a firefighter at Bootle Fire Brigade and he would visit his workplace as a child.

After joining the fire service in the Royal Army Service Corps, he went on to work for the Auxiliary Fire Service and then became a voluntary firefighter at Lancashire County Fire Service.

In 1966 he started collecting memorabilia as a hobby, with a view of setting up a fire service museum in Merseyside.

As the collection grew it moved to various venues over the years and finally a base was set up in Crosby behind Crosby Community Fire Station in the 1980s.

Finally the museum moved into what is now the MF&RS Heritage and Education Centre with its building on the same site as MF&RS Headquarters on Bridle Road in Bootle.

It houses an array of artefacts from Merseyside firefighting history, such as items from the Blitz and rare vintage fire appliances as well as a digital archive of more than 200,000 digital photographs showing the history of the fire service.

The centre hosts thousands of visitors each year, including schools, Brownies, Guides and community groups who book tours at the site.

It is run completely by volunteers, including ex-firefighting staff and those with an interest in heritage.

Danny, who is also a volunteer and the manager of the centre, said: “What really started as a hobby, has now been left as a legacy for all the firefighters in Merseyside and the community to enjoy.

“It has gone from success to success and every single day you work it just gets better and better.

“It’s a job you never retire from. It is the most wonderful rewarding thing to be part of.”

Thoughout this time the volunteers at the centre have been involved in fundraising for charities and they take the vintage appliances out to community and charitable events.

Danny said: “It’s amazing being in the position we are in and can bring a lot of joy to people.”

It was announced this week that he had been named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list and will receive his honour later this year.

He said: “Initially I thought it was a wind up because we’re always playing practical jokes.

“I was absolutely delighted when I found out. It’s a huge honour and one that you don’t expect.

“It’s wonderful to think that you’ve been selected for it. There were so many people that are no longer with us who were stalwarts in setting it up and never saw it come to fruition.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think the museum would become what it is today.”

Groups wishing to visit the Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Heritage and Education Centre should make an appointment by calling 0151 2964640 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).

Photo shows Danny Murphy at the MF&RS Heritage and Education Centre. Photo copyright MF&RS.

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