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Retired firefighter named Community Hero

Tom Diaper (centre) presents a fundraising cheque to Victoria Johnson of Norfolk & Waveney Mind.

Our Norwich City Community Hero for the Canaries’ fixture with Cardiff City (25th February, 2023) is Tom Diaper from Norfolk, who is a retired firefighter and keen Norwich City fan.

Tom, 55, joined the Norfolk Fire Service 22 years ago and recently retired from his full-time role, but continues to work as a retained-on-call firefighter for Wymondham.

He commented: “I have always been proud of being part of the Fire and Rescue service.

Being able to help and support the people of Norfolk in their time of need is a privilege that I cherish.”

As well as regularly volunteering at Cubs and Scouts with the fire brigade and consistently putting the community before himself, Tom recently raised £5,000 for Mind and the Fire Fighters Charity.

Our Community Hero and his colleagues walked 100 miles in full fire gear with breathing apparatus across four days in September last year.

Tom is a huge advocate for protecting people’s mental well-being, having become more and more aware over the years of the mental struggles and pressures that have increased for emergency service workers and the wider community.

He said: “We chose Norfolk and Waveney Mind and the Firefighters Charity as our charities as they both do vital work to support us and the community with mental health problems.”

The group walked from Carrow Fire Station to Aylsham Fire Station on day one, from there to Acle on day two, they reached Loddon on day three and finished up back at Carrow on the final day, each night sleeping at the fire stations.

We did a lot of training to prepare for this extremely difficult challenge, practising by walking many miles dressed in full kit.

“We had many strange looks from dog walkers and passers-by during our training! The days were long and tough, but we made it to the end.”

Tom was nominated by his daughter Emma to be our Community Hero for the Cardiff match.

Describing him, she said: “The mantra used by Tom’s colleagues to describe him is ‘Carpe Diem’, as he always endeavours to seize the opportunity to help and support the local community.

“He is selfless and gentle, and I am phenomenally proud of my dad and what he has achieved.

Since 2019, Fosters has joined our partners Norwich City Football Club in highlighting the great work of local individuals and organisations in our community. Every month during the football season, a ‘Community Hero’ is chosen for a selected matchday – providing an opportunity to showcase that person(s) or initiatives selfless work or important community campaign. Previous Community Heroes have included young carers, veterans, equality campaigners, charity fundraisers and their beneficiaries.

If you would like to nominate someone, please visit the Norwich City web page here.

This article was produced on the 23rd February 2023 for information purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as specific legal advice.