This month we have a gem of a local hero hidden here in our midst. Andy Firmstone will be a familiar face to many in Much Wenlock—as he’s always around, delivering fruit and vegetables around the town, cleaning up, and laying out the tables for the market stall under the town hall. What many people don’t know is that once his work for Wenlock Town Council is done, he goes, every morning without fail, to help get his friend, ex-professional footballer Alan Blackburn out of bed, get washed and changed and ready for the day.
Hannah Davidson, owner of The Fox in Much Wenlock brought Andy’s heroic deeds to our attention; “I’d always see Andy’s cheerful face out and about, and often wondered why his vegetable cart was outside the Blackburn’s home. I did a bit of digging around and to my astonishment found what Andy was up to.” Indeed, it was unknown to many that he was doing this; such is his modesty, but no surprise to anyone. A work colleague of Andy’s commented; “Andy is always there to help people. That is his priority in life.”
It is these acts of everyday selflessness and kindness that make a community and really make people true local, unsung heroes. Andy is modest when I ask him how he got involved; “One day Alan’s wife asked me if I could do her a favour helping get Alan up as she was finding it increasingly hard. I realised that my visit really helped and have done it ever since.” That was two years ago and Andy has been there to help his friend come rain or shine, without fail. “I look forward to it every morning.”
Andy chuckles when I say that someone has described him as a ‘larger than life character’. “Oh yes” he laughs, “Everybody knows me and I know everyone—I’ll talk to anyone!” Born and bred in the town, Andy has Much Wenlock running through his veins and is incredibly proud of its heritage and is looking forward to the coming interest and the expected influx of visitors around the time of the Olympics in 2012. “I’ll be here to talk to them and tell them all about Wenlock”