Tag Archives: Douro Firefighters

SYMINGTON FAMILY ESTATES DONATE AMBULANCE TO VILA FLOR VOLUNTEER FIRE BRIGADE

On Saturday 13th of February, Symington Family Estates donated a new ambulance to the Vila Flor Volunteer Fire Brigade. Since 2007 the company has donated nine ambulances to the Fire Brigades of the Douro Valley in recognition of the invaluable services, that range from combating forest fires to emergency medical assistance, that they provide to the region’s communities.

The Symington family have previously donated ambulances to the volunteer fire brigades of the following Douro municipalities: Pinhão (2007), S. João da Pesqueira (2009), Provesende (2010), Carrazeda de Ansiães (2011), Lamego (2012), Régua (2013) Foz-Côa (2014), Tabuaço (2015), and now Vila Flor in 2016.

 

Symington Family Estates Donate Ambulance to Tabuaço Volunteer Fire Brigade

On Saturday 13th of June, Symington Family Estates presented the Tabuaço Volunteer Fire Brigade with a new ambulance in recognition of the vital service that they provide to the local farming communities of the Douro. This is the eighth ambulance donated by Symington to the region’s volunteer fireman since 2007.

During the ceremony the volunteer firemen were commended for the dedication and courage that characterise the service that they provide to the local community. The firemen provide a vital lifeline in the case of medical emergencies, as well as combating the dangerous forest fires that occur annually in the Douro during the dry summer months.

The Symington family have previously donated ambulances to the volunteer firemen in the following Douro municipalities: Pinhão (2007), S. João da Pesqueira (2009), Provesende (2010), Carrazeda de Ansiães (2011), Lamego (2012), Régua (2013) Foz-Côa (2014) and now Tabuaço in 2015.

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Graham’s Provides New Ambulance for Douro Fire Service

The Symington family, owners of Graham’s, have the largest vineyard holding in the Douro Valley with a total of 965 hectares (2,385 acres) under vine; the five Graham’s quintas alone comprising 257 hectares (635 acres). These vineyards enable the family to meet most of their requirements (100% for Vintage and other premium Ports), although further grapes are bought in from a large number of small independent growers throughout the region. In this way, Graham’s and the Symington family are major contributors to the economic fabric of the Douro, which is heavily reliant on wine production for its livelihood.

The family’s social responsibility extends beyond this and over the years it has made donations to local fire brigades in the form of new ambulances to help provide adequate medical coverage for local populations. On Saturday, 31st August, on behalf of all Symington family members and their employees, Paul Symington handed over to the Régua Fire Brigade Chief a new ambulance to serve the local community. This is the 6th ambulance donated in as many years by the family to several Douro fire services.

Paul Symington (centre) hands the new ambulance over the the Regua Fire Chief (on his right).
Paul Symington (centre) hands the new ambulance over to the Régua Fire Chief (on his right).

 It is particularly apt that this ceremony took place at this time, as Portugal has suffered one of its worst ever summers of forest fires; large parts of the country have been covered in smoke with as many as 250 fires recorded simultaneously on one occasion. Special fire-fighting planes were flown in from Spain and France and even from as far afield as Croatia to assist in fighting the flames. Sadly though, 5 volunteer firemen, including two young women in their early twenties have lost their lives and over 40,000 hectares of woodland have burnt in the month of August alone (more than in the whole of 2008 which was the worst year in recent history for forest fires). In fact as the ambulance was being handed over, many of the Régua firefighters were out tackling yet another fire.

Paul and Dominic Symington accompanied by several Graham's employees who witnessed the handing over of the new ambulance.
Paul and Dominic Symington accompanied by several Graham’s employees who witnessed the handing over of the new ambulance to the Régua Fire Brigade.

In years to come, it is the Symington family’s intention to continue providing ongoing support to the Douro Fire Services, which contribute so many essential services in the Douro. Living and working in the region ourselves helps us to better understand the needs of the community.