FIREMAN Ned Hampson has served nearly 40 years in the NSW Rural Fire Service, most recently as senior deputy captain of Wyrallah Brigade.
Sadly Ned was diagnosed with cancer in March this year; the disease has spread quickly and now affects all his major organs.
His mates in the Wyrallah brigade are putting on a special day to celebrate Ned, his family and his service to the community.
It's on this Sunday, July 15, from 10am to 2pm, and all are welcome to come along and support the day, which is hoped to raise some much-needed funds for Ned's ongoing medical expenses.
There will be steak and sausage sandwiches for sale, raffles, cake stalls, face painting and lots of games for the children.
Wyrallah Brigade captain Steve Garbutt told The Echo Ned Hampson first joined the Dunoon Brigade in 1975.
"It soon became apparent that Ned had leadership qualities and he became a deputy captain of Dunoon Brigade in 1977, and then captain in 1989," Steve said.
"Very soon after that, he became a group captain of Dunoon Group, which included Dunoon Brigade, Tullera/Modanville Brigade, The Channon Brigade and Rosebank Brigade."
Steve said that Ned moved to Wyrallah in 1998 and became Captain of Wyrallah Brigade in 2000.
"He was Deputy Group Captain between 2001 to 2004, then captain until 2007," he said.
Ned's leadership was instrumental in keeping the Wyrallah Brigade going.
"The early days of his time at Wyrallah were critical in maintaining the viability of the brigade, which at this time was in danger of folding," Steve recalled.
"Ned has served the RFS with distinction, and has always been available for local RFS activities and incidents."
It has not only been in the Northern Rivers brigades that Ned has served the fire service.
"He's served out of the local RFS area several times with incidents like the Christmas fires in Canberra in 2001, the Victorian fires in 2009 and he travelled to Brisbane in 2011 with a local RFS strike team to assist with the clean-up after the Brisbane floods.
"He's also gone to the Blue Mountains and out west to assist on other occasions.
"Ned has been a quiet achiever in his career, and had the ability to pass on his knowledge to all who came into contact with him.
"He has a manner that's won him the respect of all whom he's dealt with - people from all walks of life in the community."
Ned's friend Wendy Ryder told The Echo Ned has a loving partner, three grownup children, and four grandchildren "whom he adores so much".
"We would like this to be a celebration of Ned and a get together for those who choose to come," Wendy said.
"All procceeds will go to Ned for his treatment and medications.
"Anyone is welcome to come to the Wyrallah fire house on Wyrallah Road."
For more details, or to make a donation, phone Steve Garbutt, Wyrallah Brigade captain, on 0419 773. 997.
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