Doncaster explosion hero Bryan turns 90

Bryan Fairweather and his wife, Freda,
Bryan Fairweather and his wife, Freda,
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He was one of Doncaster’s biggest heroes of the 1950s - and today he marks his 90th birthday 61 years after his bravest moment.

In 1956, Bryan Fairweather was on his way home from work as a pattern maker at the Bingham’s factory in Wheatley, Doncaster, when an explosion rocked the adjacent Yorkshire Electricity Board.

Bryan and a colleague, Brian Stace, immediately rushed to help four men whose clothes were alight.

They beat the flames out before crouching on the floor of the sub-station, searching for a fifth man who could not be found.

The story was later mentioned in the London Gazette, and Bryan’s son Neil remains proud of his dad’s actions to this day.

Bryan received the British Empire Medal for his actions on October 9.

“The explosion was like a fireball,” Neil said. “It burnt his oesophagus.”

Bryan’s wife Freda was ‘overwhelmed’ by her husband’s tale, and she also enjoyed using the gift he received for his heroics.

Bryan was given a state-of-the-art vacuum cleaner.

“Back then, to have a vacuum cleaner was quite a thing,” Neil said.

He has heard the tale “quite a few times” but the story appeared in the paper and the cutting is a source of immense pride for Neil.

“I still have the original newspaper clipping,” he said.

The close-knit family will keep things small for the celebration at their Edenthorpe home.

Bryan’s grandsons, Ross and Glen, will be at the party with him.

“His two grandsons are pretty proud of him,” Neil said.

A stroke has slowed Bryan down, but he will still be able to enjoy a slice of cake.

The talented grandfather loves to paint and has produced some fine works which hang in the family home. Watercolours and oils are his specialities.

He also a talent for three dimensional art, producing intricate wood carvings and in their younger days he and Freda were keen hikers.