A fire engine named in honour of a late Cupar firefighter – who spent many years protecting her community – has been sent to a new life in South America.
Hilary Green died in July 2019, at the age of 48, from pancreatic cancer.
She was a retained firefighter in the Fife town for about two decades and a well-known figure in the area.
Now, the Hilary Green fire appliance has been donated by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to Junta Nacional De Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios del Paraguay, or the volunteer fire service of Paraguay.
Drew Green, Hilary’s brother, told The Courier: “She started off volunteering for the fire service about 20 years ago and she just progressed from there, driving the engine out to jobs.
“When she started volunteering she also had her own stationery shop just a 10-minute walk from Cupar fire station.
“She had it for about 15 years and she was really passionate about that, and a lot of things really.
“She’d have a pager in the shop and whenever she was paged for the fire service, she would just shut the shop and head out.”
Drew says the donation of the fire engine was organised by Hilary when she became ill.
He said: “It’s an older truck, but it’ll be helping the people in Paraguay that otherwise might not have had that help.
“That’s what Hilary would’ve wanted.”
Tradition of naming vehicles after fallen firefighters
The delivery of the vehicle to Paraguay was organised by the International Fire & Rescue Association (IFRA) — an emergency services support charity based in Scotland.
David Kay, chairman, said: “We’ve always had a tradition of naming the donated vehicles and we have named others in memory of fallen firefighters.
“Hilary had asked us before to donate one in her name.
“She organised the whole thing, we just certified it, so the kudos should go to Hilary — she was always a great supporter of our charity.”
The team drove the vehicle – which is the 102nd to be donated in this way – to Tilbury Docks near London to begin its journey to South America.
David said: “Hilary was a larger than life character in Cupar. She had a shop there and had a lot of time for the community.
“Her passing was very devastating for the community — and for her family and friends.
“Hilary will be remembered by all and live on in Paraguay saving lives.”
Engine ‘will be saving lives from day one’
The fire engine leaves for Paraguay on Friday and will arrive more than a month later.
David added: “Paraguay is a totally voluntary fire service.
“They’re under-funded and under-resourced. They have no government funding at all and totally rely on donations.
“There are 85 fire stations in the whole country and Paraguay is twice the twice size of the UK.
“For context, we have 356 stations in Scotland altogether, so this vehicle will be saving lives from day one.”
Mark Bryce, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service local senior officer for Stirling, Clackmannanshire and Fife, said: “Hilary relished the role of being a retained firefighter, especially being involved in community safety activities and in serving the local community.
“She quickly became a popular, well-respected, trustworthy and ever enthusiastic member of the Cupar crew.
“Her contagious, happy persona and enthusiasm to help others is still sadly missed.
“The naming of the IFRA appliance, as well as the permanent display of her memorial plaque at the station in memory of Hilary is a fitting tribute, which I hope is an inspiration to the local community in which she served.”