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Fireman Dan is also a Sheringham church pastor

There was a baptism of fire for Sheringham church pastor Daniel Ward when he decided to take on a role as a retained firefighter during the hottest summer the country has ever seen last year. Tony Rothe reports.

Daniel is one of the ministers at Lighthouse Community Church in Sheringham, but also finds time to be a retained fireman in Cromer, where he lives, in his spare time. At Lighthouse, he is part of the leadership team, sometimes preaching or leading Sunday services, and assisting the senior leader. He is also project manager of two of the church’s major community initiatives – Sheringham Shed, part of the Men’s Shed movement, and Priory Patch – a community allotment.


However, last year, Daniel decided to apply to become a retained fire-fighter with Cromer Fire Brigade. “I have an urge to serve my local community – to give something back,” he explained, “Because of my work at Lighthouse, I have always felt involved with Sheringham, but not so much with Cromer, where I live, and this seemed an ideal away to connect with the community there. I was sure the work would be rewarding, even potentially fun and, let’s face it, firefighters are usually well liked!”


So is there any problem reconciling these two aspects of his life? Daniel explained that there is a surprisingly good fit between the two, as difficult situations can occur in both jobs and firefighting tends to make you more confident, especially under stress. It can also help with people skills, for example engaging with people in distress.


“But it also works the other way,” said Daniel. “My work with Lighthouse, and especially my faith in Jesus, is really important when dealing with unpleasant or even perilous situations when firefighting, for example body retrieval or dealing with bereaved relatives. My faith helps me to comfort and reassure people in those situations, and even helps in my relationship with my colleagues at the station.”


Daniel’s his role at Cromer fire station started in quite a dramatic, and certainly demanding, way as the hottest day of 2022 occurred within a month of him joining the brigade. Fires were starting all over the county at an alarming rate because of the heat, and Norfolk Fire Service declared a state of emergency. Every appliance in the county was in use for those few days – the service even borrowed fire tenders from a local museum to transport water!


“Each job can take anywhere between 30 minutes and four hours,” explained Daniel, “but on the hottest day last year, we started at 3am and I think finished just before midnight! One of the big jobs we had that day was spent successfully saving a house in Stibbard which was surrounded by a field fire. And of course we were wearing our thick, heavy personal protective gear in all that intense heat! You could almost say it was a baptism of fire!”


Daniel’s lifestyle certainly keeps him busy as, with wife, Amy, they have three young children – Phoebe, Judah, and Toby. He says it helps that his boss, Lighthouse senior leader Ian Savory, is happy for him to be absent to perform his firefighting duties, as he sees it as one of the ways in which the church contributes to the community.


And what of the future? “Well, I’m sure God has a plan for my life”, said Daniel, “And at the moment, I feel that firefighting is part of that plan. We’ll have to see what the future holds”.

The photo of Daniel Ward is courtesy of Tony Rothe.  


Do you have a news story or forthcoming event relating to Christians or a church in North Norfolk?  

If so, e-mail [email protected] with details and, if possible a suitable picture. 

Tony Rothe, 15/07/2023

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