Post People: Barking rotary club stalwart talks firefighting and fashion
PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 December 2016
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.”