Bexhill-on-Sea is eagerly anticipating the long-awaited homecoming of its original 1895 horse-drawn Merryweather fire engine. However, before this treasured artifact can once again grace the town with its presence, it requires a significant amount of tender loving care to ensure it remains in pristine condition for another 128 years and beyond.
Supported by the Bexhill Museum and Bexhill-on-Sea Town Council, the dedicated firefighters of Bexhill are reaching out to the community for assistance in raising £15,000 for the expert restoration of this remarkable piece of history.
The fire engine holds great sentimental value, as it was purchased in 1895 by Earl De la Warr for the establishment of a town fire brigade. It dutifully served Bexhill until it was eventually replaced by a motorized version in 1920. Two years ago, a retired Bexhill fire officer stumbled upon the fire engine at a collection that was about to close. Recognizing its historical significance, he ensured its rescue and the East Sussex Fire Service took it under their wing.
The plan for the restored fire engine is to display it prominently at the Bexhill Museum, allowing visitors to appreciate its rich heritage. However, the tradition of parading it through the town on carnival day, pulled by a pair of horses, as was done from 1895 to 1974, is also set to be revived, adding an extra layer of excitement to the restoration project.
To achieve the necessary restoration work, Bexhill’s Emergency Fire & Rescue Service, alongside their colleagues from Sussex, have devised a range of fundraising events and activities. They are determined to meet their target and ensure that the fire engine is restored to its former glory. The community is urged to contribute to the cause, and donations can be made through the dedicated fundraising page at https://gofund.me/ed0bcc13.