Office fire ‘flashback’ jogs the memory of pet rescuer Alan

Alan Walmsley

Alan Walmsley - Credit: Archant

»It was a blast from the past for a Recorder reader as one of our stories brought back memories of the night he saved a cat from an office fire.

Alan Walmsley

Alan Walmsley - Credit: Archant

Alan Walmsley, 76, from North Weald Close, Hornchurch, was sent 60 years down memory lane when he saw the News Flashback section of the Recorder a couple of weeks ago.

In 1954, Alan’s father, Mr William Alfred Walmsley, was the store manager of shoe shop Lilley and Skinner Ltd in High Road, Ilford, where a fire broke out in the basement due to an electrical fault.

As firefighters tackled the blaze, Alan and his father had one thing in mind, saving office cat Dinkey who was still in the building – despite Alan having mixed feelings about the feline.

He said: “That cat was a sod! He used to hide underneath the stairs and pounce at the ladies who came in, and they worried he was going to rip their tights.


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“He was a right little devil, that thing.

“The flames weren’t too big but I remember my father didn’t want the firefighters to smash the glass doors so we went in ourselves to find the cat.”

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After some time searching, Alan found Dinkey lying in a corner on the ground floor and they quickly got outside.

He was shown our story by the best man from his wedding and was glad to have the reminder.

He said: “I wanted to write up these stories for myself and this sort of thing just jogs the memory of everything that’s happened.”

Alan continued: “I’m not a brave man but I just went in and did it and that was it. It was something you would do in the spur of the moment.”

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