Big-hearted firefighters help make Kilmarnock man's dream come true
11 April 2018
Crews threw a surprise 50th birthday party for Stuart McLauchlan
Big-hearted firefighters helped make a Kilmarnock man’s dream come true - by throwing him a surprise birthday party.
Stuart McLaughlan has been attending the town's Fire Station on a weekly basis for almost five decades and has an outstanding knowledge of the Service's history.
And the former Park School student was astonished when he made his regular visit on Thursday, April 5 ... and walked straight into the surprise bash to mark his 50th. As part of his special day, Stuart enjoyed a ride in a 1970s fire engine and was presented with gifts including an engraved plaque marking the milestone.
Stuart’s support worker Isabella Barton, who attended the celebration, said: “This was a very touching and emotional event – it was above and beyond the call of duty for the fire service.
“These visits really bring out the best in Stuart because he has a fantastic mind and he passes on all his knowledge to his peers. He is also aware of fire safety messages which he also extends to his friends.”
Stuart has been visiting his local station every Thursday since he was aged four and now enjoys a roll and sausage with his firefighter friends before watching them train to ensure their skills are maintained.
But Stuart has also been given his own uniform - and kindly assists the crews when they clean their fire engines.
Station Manager Paul Storrie said: “People associate us with fighting fires but we do so much more than that; we also sit at the very heart of our communities through our partnership networks - and, of course, our valued friends. “Stuart is without doubt one of our very great friends and it was a pleasure and a privilege to mark this special occasion. He has a breath-taking knowledge of our history and we are only too happy to welcome him ... with a roll and sausage, “I would like to extend my thanks to his mum and his dad, Stuart brightens up our day every week he visits. “It is great chatting with him and listening to all the memories of the history of Kilmarnock Fire Station.” Stuart’s mum Helen, a retired weaver, attended the birthday party with proud father Hugh, a retired bank worker. Delighted Helen said: “This has really made Stuart’s day and he just loved it - he knows all the crews! His knowledge of fire service history is outstanding and he often knows even more than the firefighters themselves. “I think it is fantastic that the fire service has found a friend in Stuart and we are just so very proud of him.”