Vintage send-off for fireman

The old Picton fire engine, which is on display at Brayshaw Park, made a special journey in honour of Peter Tester. Photo: Matt Brown.

A former firefighter has taken his final journey – on a vintage fire engine that takes pride of place in a museum he helped start.

Peter Tester, 71, died suddenly on 2 August.

The proud grandfather dedicated many years of service to Blenheim Volunteer Fire Brigade and was a popular member of the Vintage Farm Machinery Club at Brayshaw Park.

At his funeral service at Cloudy Bay funeral home last week a trio of older-type vehicles were there in honour of the man who helped restore them to their former glory.

Peter Tester will be sorely missed. Photo: Supplied.
Peter Tester will be sorely missed. Photo: Supplied.

As one of the founding members of the fire museum at Brayshaw Park, Peter devoted a lot of time to ensuring items on display were in good order.

Funeral director David Buckley says given Peter’s passion for vintage vehicles it was a fitting tribute.

“When we talk to families, we really try and help them celebrate the life of that person by personalizing a service as much as they need too.

“In Peter’s case he was a fireman and it was practical it [the engine] was involved in some way,” he says.

A steam roller nicknamed Kate that he also worked on was parked outside the Boyce St funeral home while family and friends bid farewell to Peter inside.

Kate the steam roller appeared at Peter's funeral. Photo: Matt Brown.
Kate the steam roller appeared at Peter’s funeral. Photo: Matt Brown.

Once owned by Blenheim Borough Council, Kate was given a new lease of life after 50 years being hidden away by a team of five volunteers, Peter included.

And in a fitting acknowledgement of his commitment, Peter’s family arranged for him to take a last ride on the bright red fire engine.

“The fire engine was driven around the perimeter of the funeral home and as it came level with the steamroller, it stopped and blew its whistle,” says David.

Peter was also a valued member of the Marlborough Historical Society and Brayshaw Heritage Park.

David says that many families chose to personalise services.

“It’s one of those situations that once you start talking about and offering suggestions, it takes off,” he says.

“All I have to do is make sure the funeral service is what they want. Anytime someone sees the steam roller, or the fire engine, they’ll think of Pete.”

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