top of page

At 14:44 hours on Sunday 3rd of December 2006 during a fire at a fire works factory at 

Festival Fireworks, Marlie Farm, The Broyle, Shortgate, Near Ringmer, East Sussex an 

explosion occurred which left several firefighters injured and 2 firefighters dead.

The dead were Geoffrey Wicker, aged 49 and Brian Wembridge, aged 63.

I had the pleasure to spend a day with Brian a few years ago when he acted as my guide 

and drove me around the East Sussex whilst photographing their appliance fleet. His 

enthusiasm, friendliness and professionalism marked him as an outstanding person and 

his hospitality was both a credit to himself and East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.

A true gentleman.

Rest in Peace, Sir

Brian Wembridge, aged 63, has had a long and distinguished career with East Sussex Fire Rescue Service and was an experienced officer serving operationally at many stations including Crowborough Fire Station and working at Divisional Headquarters and Operations Command. He retired as a Watch Manager in 1994, however he continued with the service as a Support Staff member as video technician filming fires, road traffic accidents and other special services for training and media purposes.

Brian's work is well respected by all sections of the service and the media and also those in the service. Brian was very much involved in youth intervention with the LIFE Project, Phoenix Project and 'Safe Drive Stay Alive Project' and with the Networking Women in the Fire Service, many members of which have texted and called in their sadness at Brian's death.

Brian was a very popular member of staff, was respected by all in the service and he will be greatly missed. He had tremendous enthusiasm for the work of the Fire & Rescue Service and worked extremely hard, whilst always remaining cheerful. He leaves a wife and two sons.

Photos by East Sussex Fire Rescue Service

Written by Jeff Collins

Courtesy of ESFRS

For further information about this incident, to view the on 

line Book of Condolence and for details on how to donate to 

the memorial fund, please click on the link above to East 

Sussex Fire & Rescue Service.


When I am called to duty, God, whenever flames may rage;

Give me strength to save some life, whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child before it is too late,

Or save an older person from the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout,

And quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me,

To guard my every neighbor and protect his property.

And if, according to my fate, I am to lose my life;

Please bless with your protecting hand my

children and my wife. .

-- Author Unknown


He's the guy next door, a mans man with the memory of a little boy. He's never gotten over the excitement of the engines and sirens and danger. He's the guy like you and me with warts and worries and unfilled dreams. Yet he stands taller than most of us. He's a fireman. He put's it on the line when the bell rings. A fireman at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men. He's a man who saves lives, because he's seen too much death. He's a gentle man because he has seen the awesome power of violence out of control. He's responsive to a child's laughter, because his arms held too many small bodies that will never laugh again. He's a simple man who enjoys the simple pleasure's in life hot coffee held in numb, unbending fingers a warm bed for bone and muscle compelled beyond feeling. The camaraderie of brave men and the devine peace and selfless service, of a job well done. He doesn't wear buttons or wave flags or shout obscenities. When he marches its to honor a fallen comrade. He doesn't preach the brotherhood of man.

 He lives it.

-- Author Unknown

bottom of page