Service . . . Members of the Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade at last year's annual awards night. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A whole lot of candles will need extinguishing when the Otematata Volunteer Fire Brigade celebrates its 50th anniversary later this year.

Fire Brigade secretary Debbie Smith said celebrations were planned for October 8-10, and invitations were in the post.

But Mrs Smith was hoping past members of the brigade who had moved on from the district would contact her, as she was finding it hard to track down some of them and had a long list of people she could not find.

“We just have no idea where they are.”

So far, close to 90 people had indicated they would be attending the celebrations.

Vicky Munro has been associated with the fire brigade since it began. Her late husband Ronnie was also a firefighter.

Mrs Munro said the volunteers who made up the brigade now and who had been involved over the past 50 years were like family.

“As young members, young families, and local residents, the fire brigade is a family – supporting each other, supporting their communities and supporting the local brigades,” she said.

Members would bring in their families to help out at working bees, and to socialise. The children grew up and would often come back as volunteer firefighters.

Female firefighters were also an integral part of the brigade, contributing as much as the men now, she said.

“Lots changes over 50 years, but it is still the same. Volunteers give up their time to help others – the foundation of the fire brigade,” Mrs Munro said.

Mrs Smith said the weekend celebrations would start on the Friday night with a get-together at the station, including registration, nibbles, and refreshments.

On Saturday there would be photos taken, followed by a dinner and dance at the Otematata Community Hall. This would include an honours night, where medals and certificates would be presented to current members.

A barbecue lunch to wrap up celebrations would be held at the station the following day.

Mrs Smith said past brigade members who had not received an invite, should get in touch with her on 27229-4376 or at before July 9.