A LOCAL Assemblyman has called for local firefighters who bravely battled to save his parents’ lives to be awarded the prestigious Freedom of the Borough honour.

Alec and Ann Easton, parents of independent Unionist Alex Easton, were aged in their eighties when they lost their lives in a house fire at their Dellmont Park home, in Bangor, in December last year.

Following a visit to Holywood Fire Station where he met with local firefighters, Mr Easton has launched a bid for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) to be awarded this civic honour.

The Freedom of the Borough Award is an expression of the high esteem in which recipients are held by the council and local residents.

Should the Fire Service be granted the honour it would join awardees such as Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, the Irish Guards and Health and Social Care staff.

Speaking about his freedom of the honour bid, Mr Easton said he was ‘very surprised’ to discover the NIFRS had not received the Freedom of the Borough from Ards and North Down Council.

“I felt it was time to put this right and recognise the dedication and effort of the NIFRS who respond to hundreds of call-outs  every year as they save lives,” he said.

“They also help the elderly and vulnerable by providing safety inspections and advice, they also carry out education programmes in local schools and attend community fun days.”

Turning to the recent loss of both his parents, Mr Easton said: “Many people will know of the personal tragedy that I suffered with the loss of my parents due to a fire and I have seen with my own eyes the effort these firefighters made to save my parents which I am eternally grateful for.

“This is why I am calling on Ards and North Down Council to award the NIFRS the Freedom of the Borough which I believe they richly deserve and is the highest honour we can bestow on an organisation.”