Prince Edward opens Staffordshire Fire Services new training complex

Prince Edward made a splash as he opened Staffordshire Fire Services new training complex.

His Royal Highness visited service HQ near Stone to unveil the Villa Training Centre - a sophisticated labyrinth of rooms to simulate challenging and dangerous scenarios.

The Earl of Wessex braved a large downpour as he met trainee firefighters yesterday and got to grips with a jet hose before touring the new training facility which looks like a number of shipping containers.

Unveiling a plaque to commemorate his visit, he joked: "I'm going to make this look as slick and as professional as possible - it has taken years of practice and we don't receive training, we have to learn on the job."

The Queen's youngest son then paid tribute to the work of firefighters, saying: "I want to give my full thanks for the work that you do in very difficult circumstances."

Chief Fire Officer Becci Bryant presented the prince with a miniature statue of the one that sits outside of service HQ.

She said: "This marks an important milestone in the journey of the service because training cannot be underestimated. It is an incredible facility in which firefighters from Staffordshire will continue to develop and learn which is crucial to everyone's lives."

Earlier in the day he visited Laches Wood Outdoor Centre in Coven where he met pupils from Barnfields Primary School in Stafford.

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