• Tony Bosworth

Veteran Bilpin firefighters Johnson and Newton remembered through Sydney Markets Foundation donation

Two rapid spray slip-on tank and pump units have been delivered this week to Bilpin landholders to help support its RFS Brigade, and they’ve been named after much-loved local veteran firefighters Albert Newton and Bill Johnson.

Bilpin RFS veterans William 'Bill' Johnson and Albert Newton remembered - pic courtesy Nick Wood Photography

Carlo Trimboli, Chairperson of the Sydney Markets Foundation, said the fresh produce wholesaler community was passionate about doing whatever it could to get Bilpin back on track, as they could see first-hand the devastation left in the aftermath of the bushfires and the toll it was having on their growers.

“Sydney Markets has a long association with the region and its growers, and Bilpin is a critical supplier of apples and flowers to Sydney Markets,” Carlo said.

“When the bushfires came in 2019/2020, Bilpin was subjected to unrelenting fires that engulfed the area, but thanks to the unwavering bravery of the Bilpin RFS Brigade there was no loss of life.

Bilpin RFS, with Freshmark CEO James Kellaway. L-R - Captain Sean Lonergan, Deputy Captain Jim Newton, Secretary Cathy Wilson, Freshmark CEO James Kellaway, Community Engagement Officer Penny McKinlay, Deputy Captain Jim Haines, Deputy Captain Dave Hawes, Senior Deputy Captain Stuart McKinlay

“We couldn’t undo the devastation of 2019/2020, but we wanted to do something positive, so we chose to help prepare Bilpin for future bushfire seasons by supplying two Rapid Spray slip-on tank and pump units.”

Sydney Markets Foundation’ Bushfire Appeal raised $239,600, including $150,000 from Sydney Markets Limited, on behalf of their stakeholders.

Jim Haines, Bilpin RFS Deputy Captain, says the impact that the donation would have on the community of Bilpin was immeasurable.

The Rapid Spray slip-on tank and pump units

“The generosity of the community and businesses in the wake of the Black Summer bushfires has been incredible, and we thank Sydney Markets Foundation for the kind donation of these two Rapid Spray slip-on tank and pump units, which will assist Bilpin in protecting its community fight future fires,” he said.

“In honour of William 'Bill' Johnson and Albert Newton, who celebrated 70 years at Bilpin Rural Fire Service and fought more than 100 fires, each unit will adorn their names in recognition of their bravery and unrelenting determination to protect the people of Bilpin,” Mr Haines said.

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