Buckingham Palace dilemma for Knaresborough firefighter

North Yorkshire firefighter Bruce Reid MBE.
North Yorkshire firefighter Bruce Reid MBE.

By Graham Chalmers

He may be accustomed to challenges but a North Yorkshire firefighter faced one of his toughest-ever dilemmas when it came to planning his forthcoming trip to Buckingham Palace to receive a royal honour - who should he take with him.

Bruce Reid, who is married with four children and two grandchildren and lives in Knaresborough, was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list earlier in the year for services to the Fire Fighters Charity and the community.

He’s had a few months to get used to the idea but in less than two weeks’ time he will receive the MBE.

But, as Bruce explains, the ceremony has required him to become a bit of a diplomat.

Bruce said: “I’m very excited to be going to the palace but guest tickets for the ceremony are limited to three and my wife and I have four children between us.

“I wasn’t able to get the two extra tickets needed to take all the children but I did manage to one extra ticket - but that just created an even bigger conundrum!

“It’s been a difficult task in itself deciding who to take.”

After much soul searching - and quite a few family conversations - Bruce eventually came up with the solution.

When he hits the road for the medal ceremony which takes place on Tuesday, November 17, Bruce’s party will include his wife, son, daughter and his 94-year old-grandmother who will all be in attendance at Buckingham Palace.

The compromise, Bruce says, will also involve a large family entourage travelling down to London with him to join the celebrations too.

Life has been a bit different for Bruce since news of the honour.

He said: “The period from when the notification was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list to as recently as yesterday has been surreal.

“There has hardly been a day go by when I have bumped into someone I know for the first time since the announcement who has not congratulated me on the award.”

But, in another way, life has gone as normal for Bruce, who lives on the Aspin estate.

As Beneficiary Support Coordinator for The Fire Fighters Charity, the role for which he is to receive the royal honour shortly, he is responsible each year for helping to ensure North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Christmas Concert is a success.

To be held at Harrogate International Centre on Sunday, December 20, this year’s musical extravaganza looks like being the best one to date.

This festive evening of traditional and modern performances combines performances from the firefighters bands, local choirs and special guest stars.

On the bill this year will be singer and BBC Songs of Praise presenter Aled Jones, talented classical soprano Laura Wright, the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Band, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Pipe Band, The Fisher Singers and Freedom Performing Arts.

After the ceremony at Buckingham Palace in a few weeks’ time, Bruce is looking forward to a celebratory family lunch before travelling home later the same day.