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Post People: Barking rotary club stalwart talks firefighting and fashion

PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 December 2016

Alec Everitt

Alec Everitt

Archant

Ultimate boy scout Alec Everitt, 68, tells Phoebe Cooke about his interesting journey from cub through to firefighter and Rotary Club stalwart

“I’ve always been a Barking boy. I have very happy memories of living here as a child and going to Gascoigne Infants School.

“I had a very long back and I remember being able to throw a tennis ball over the entire school building – quite an achievement as a six-year-old child.

“I loved scouting and was awarded the highest honour as the Queen’s Scout.

“My grandfather and father ran E.C.Everitt & Son, a hat-maker in North Street where I used to earn my pocket money making hats.

“We were always dressed for that trade, always trying to look extraordinary. I remember going to an interview with the London Fire Brigade at the age of 19, wearing a frilly white shirt, a cutaway waistcoat, a velvet collar and cuff and buckled shoes.

“I got the job somehow and worked as a firefighter for 25 years in East Ham, Plaistow and Holloway.

“I loved it – I wish I could do it all over again. I really enjoyed the camaraderie. We used to work 56 hours a week, but you knew what you were signing up to.

“I used to love driving fire engines – it was a boyhood dream. I can vividly remember the things that made me laugh. Other more traumatic things, like seeing burnt bodies or people jump off buildings, I can remember but not picture. It’s a brilliant facility of the brain.

“I lived in East Ham then, where I met my wife, Jacqueline. We had a boy, Stephen, now 41. I’ve got two grandchildren, aged four and six.

“My wife and I moved back to Longbridge Road in 1987.

“I joined Barking Rotary Club in 1992 and was president in 2013. It was both totally different to being a firefighter, and completely the same.

“We are all businessmen, all sharing the same ideal. We are all on this planet together – what’s the point of not getting on? It’s ludicrous what’s going on in the world.

“We can’t get off this planet, so we might as well help each other.”

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