On Friday, July 5, Charles ‘chic’ Stewart, a serving firefighter at Kirriemuir passed away peacefully after a short illness.
This is a great loss to his family, the Fire and Rescue Service and the community of Kirriemuir.
Chic joined Tayside Fire Brigade on September 4, 1987. His wife Ann said that for the first three years of his service they were only allowed to leave Kirriemuir if it was absolutely necessary just in case there was a fire. Even then he would still drop in on his return to the town to check if anything had happened.
His colleagues described him as dependable and very practical with a great ability to use his own initiative. Everything Chic got involved in he put his heart and soul in to it.
In the 90s he was the back bone of the Station’s pump team which involved getting equipment to work as quickly and efficiently as possible and the Station’s quiz team testing fire service and general knowledge. Stations around the country competed in these events and Kirrimuir were Scottish champions in both competitions two years running.
Chic persuaded his brother Andy to join the fire brigade and this led to a healthy rivalry in the one man pump drill competition. Andy worked alongside his brother for over 20 years and is currently a Crew Manager at Kirriemuir Fire Station.
Chic was always willing to do anything to help others so when it came to raising money for charity Chic was always there. In his 28 years’ service Chic has helped raise in the region of £50,000 for local charities and the Fire Service Benevolent Fund. He ran many legendary cheese and wine parties which were always well supported and distributed the money raised back in to the local community charities.
In 1991, he took part in the station’s charity cycle run which involved cycling round every whole time, retained and volunteer station within the Tayside area raising £11,000. The event was repeated in 2011 when Chic took more of a co-ordinating role and in that event £7,500 was raised.
Chic was always ambitious and on May 31, 1999, Chic was promoted to the rank of leading fire fighter. He went on to be the watch manager on November 6, 2006.
In 2008, Chic received his long service and good conduct medal for the valued service he had provided to the Fire Service and the community.
The fire service has had a long relationship with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and various initiatives within the community to interact with all age groups and promote fire safety and teach new skills.
Chic was again a driving force in Kirriemuir and worked hard to ensure that the fire service was held in high regard.
He delivered his last course in the early part of this year to a group of six army cadets to help them achieve their silver award for Duke of Edinburgh.
He unfortunately took unwell the week before the group had their passing out display. However, even from his hospital bed he drew out how the drills were to be run.
Chic was a larger than life character with a big heart. He was a proud family man and worked hard to provide for his family. Being a retained fire fighter was more than a part time job it was a way of life for Chic and it involved the whole family.
Chic needed the support and understanding from his family to accept that in the course of providing assistance to others on many occasions they were put second. Chic had this support and when Ann was working the children were drilled in what to do if dad got an alert and had to go. They were to switch everything off, lock up the house and go to friends who would look after them until one of the parents returned.
A void has been left by his passing, however, many happy memories remain. Chic will always be remembered for his contributions to Kirriemuir fire station and the wider communities that he served. He leaves behind his wife Ann, his children Carol, Lynne and Alan, sons-in-law Andrew and James, daughter-in-law Lettie and grandchildren Kyle, Dara and Wyatt. He will be sadly missed by everyone.