Andrew and Sarah Smith, left, Mark and Kate Spence, and Blake Griffiths pose with the firetrucks outside Mudbrick after the lights are turned on to greet the night’s guest of honour, 25-year veteran fire fighter Brian Algar. Photos Paul Mitchell

The Waiheke Volunteer Fire Brigade held their annual awards dinner at Mudbrick Vineyard and Restaurant last Saturday, celebrating the service and achievements of the men and women who help keep Waiheke safe.

This year’s awards are doubly special, combining the 2021 and 2022 awards after last year’s dinner was nixed by the Covid pandemic and marking the guest of honour and  veteran fire fighter Brian Algar’s Gold Star award and medal for 25-years of service. 

Brian came to the fire service later in life, after a long career in the New Zealand Navy, and says he knew from the start he’d never leave the purpose and comradery he found in the Waiheke brigade – although back then he did have a few doubts about making it to this milestone. 

When asked if he was coming to the awards, he apparently replied “If I wake up on Saturday morning, I will. But at my age, that’s not guaranteed.”

Brian and his wife Maureen Algar arrived at Mudbrick just after 6pm, chauffeured in style in a black, classic Pontiac to be greeted by four firetrucks flashing their lights and the full brigade arranged in an honour guard. • Paul Mitchell

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