Fleur Lombard became the first female firefighter to die in peacetime Britain in 1996 when she was overcome by a blaze in Staple Hill, and was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal. She was only 21 years old.
Earlier this year as part of GWR’s Great Westerners campaign, I nominated Fleur to be commemorated by having a train named after her, in recognition not just of Fleur’s own courage, but the commitment of all firefighters to keeping us safe, and the risks that they face.
Unfortunately, I could not attend the ceremony, so I am pleased to have finally been able to see the train in operation.
Fleur’s death prompted major changes in the design of women firefighters’ clothing, which had previously been identical to men’s uniforms. Look out for her name next time you’re catching a Great Western Railway train!