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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 40, September 1996

Mr C W Malcolm, the oldest surviving member of the Paeroa Fire Brigade, was honoured at the Brigade's Centennial Function in 1995. Arriving in Paeroa by bus on Sunday morning, 22 October he was surprised to find there two modern fire engines with their crews drawn up as a guard of honour.

In the first of the fire engines he was conveyed to the Fire Station where the rest of the Brigade was drawn up to be individually introduced to him. Mr Malcolm says he was glad he was wearing his fire brigade cap, which he had acquired when he became a Life Member, and a dark suit with his medals and bars signifying 21 years of service and Life Membership for he at least still looked like a fireman.

He was then escorted to the "Church" Service in the Paeroa Domain, given a place on the "stage", later asked to assist the youngest fireman in the cutting of the Centennial cake and to make a short speech to the congregation in the grandstand. Mr Malcolm paid a tribute to the women whose Organisation, especially in social matters, supported the Brigade and after a little humour, sounded a more serious note in keeping with the day and the occasion by declaring that what he had learned through living 90 years was that time is slipping away so fast; we have less and less time and should make the most of it in doing good for those in need, for our town and community.

After lunch at the Fire Station he was conveyed by fire engine to his lodgings with an old pupil of his, Mr Ted Hughes of Willoughby Street, Paeroa, Mr Hughes being also fellow patron of the Paeroa Old Pupils' Association in Auckland. In the afternoon he was taken for a car tour to Rye Lane (now Towers Street) where he was born, to Hill Street where he had lived for many years, to the Wood Street School, the cemetery, and finally to the summit of Primrose Hill for its panoramic view of the town.

The following day Monday 23rd was not only the actual date of the Brigade's founding but also Mr Malcolm's 90th birthday. He was once again conveyed by fire engine to the Fire Station for the "Birthday Party" which he thought would be that for the Brigade. The Mayor, Basil Morrison, was there and the Brigade lined up outside. After a fine speech extolling the work of the Brigade both past and present, the Mayor assisted by Mr Malcolm unveiled the Centennial plaque on the outer wall of the Station. The plaque bore the words: "This plaque presented to the Paeroa Volunteer Fire Brigade by the Hauraki District Council is in recognition of 100 years' service to the community 23rd October 1895 to 23rd October 1995".

Inside the Station for "the party" Mr Malcolm was asked to cut the birthday cake, and to his amazement found on it the Brigade crest in colour, the dates 1905 - 1995 and "Will Malcolm Happy Birthday". His well received speech outlined much of the history of the Brigade and the way things were when he joined in 1925. With his bus due to depart at 3 pm he was then taken by fire engine to board it and given a farewell salute by its siren.