STAFFORDSHIRE firefighters will welcome colleagues from around the world at a high profile ceremony of thanksgiving in the county this weekend.
The Annual International Service of Thanksgiving takes place at the National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas on Sunday, May 11.
The Firefighters Memorial Trust will host the event, which starts at 11.30am, with the support of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Chief Fire Officers, including Staffordshire's Peter Dartford, will attend along with Fire Minister Brandon Lewis and dignitaries including deputy chairman of Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Authority Kath Banks.
Serving and former firefighters, their families and friends as well as members of the public are invited to the ceremony.
For the first time, they will be joined by National Fire Cadets from Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire.
The young people will march with the Standards as well as providing a guard of honour during the laying of the wreaths. They will also lay a wreath on behalf of the National Fire Cadets.
The Band of the West Midlands Fire Service will perform along with the Pipe Band of the West Midlands Fire Service.
Mr Dartford said: “It is a great honour to welcome firefighters from across the world to Staffordshire for this very special ceremony of remembrance and thanksgiving.
"Firefighters save lives on a daily basis and face some extremely challenging situations from wildfires that can threaten entire communities and beyond to house fires and road traffic collisions. This international event is not only to say ‘thank you’ to the firefighters who are currently in active service but is also an opportunity to honour our colleagues who have sacrificed their own lives while trying to save others."