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Obituary: Peter Bromfield – former firefighter lived his whole life in Burley

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FORMER retained firefighter Peter Bromfield who was heavily involved in village life in Burley has died aged 81.

Peter joined the service in 1965 and enjoyed the challenges of the profession until a car accident in 1982 meant he could no longer continue.

He then worked with the Firefighters Benevolent Fund, now known as the Firefighters’ Charity, and helped them obtain Harcombe House in Devon, a recovery centre for firefighters to attend for rest and recuperation. Peter and wife Christine spent a week there in 2019 and were due to return in 2020 but were unable to due to the pandemic.

Peter Bromfield regularly won trophies at the Burley Show for his produce
Peter Bromfield regularly won trophies at the Burley Show for his produce

Born on 16th January 1940, Peter lived his entire life in Burley, with his family tree being traced back to the 1600s.

His family established Shappen Nursery in the 1920s providing fruit, vegetables, plants and flowers to the local community and surrounding area. Peter learned a lot from his father Oliver, and always joked he was born with a packet of seeds in his hand.

After attending Burley Primary School, Peter went on to Twynham School in Christchurch where he became head boy.

Upon leaving, he learnt farming skills at Vernon Simmonds and then moved on to work at ironmonger Lawfords, in Pound Lane. He later joined his cousin Reg at a solicitor’s firm in New Milton, and it was while working there he met first wife Anne, whom he married in 1988. She passed away in 2014.

Peter played an active part in village life and belonged to many local organisations, as well as being president of the Burley Show. He was also a member of Burley Good Neighbours and carried out deliveries for the local GP surgery. He was always ready to give his time to help others whenever he could.

Burley firefighters held a guard of honour at his funeral
Burley firefighters held a guard of honour at his funeral

In 2018 Peter married childhood friend, Christine, whom he had kept in touch with.

He was step-father to Christine's children Jackie, Angela, Paul and Mark, and Anne's two sons Simon and Matthew. He was also step-grandfather to nine.

In his spare time, Peter enjoyed working in the garden and grew fruit and vegetables. He was renowned for his flowers, in particular sweet peas, and won many prizes for them at the Burley Show.

He was always very proud to say that he practised a policy of self-sufficiency as much as possible and continued this all of his life. With Anne, he created a beautiful garden which was opened for charity on many occasions.

Always generous, Peter gave excess produce to friends and neighbours.

After suffering a fall in 2020, he was unable to do the many things he enjoyed; but he fought hard to try and recover. He died on 15th May and a private funeral service took place at St John the Baptist Church, which included a guard of honour by Burley fire crew.

Donations can be made to the Firefighters’ Charity via tapper funeral service at www.tapperfuneralservice.co.uk

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