NORTH Tawton Fire Station will be officially re-opened on May 25 after a major upgrade which began at the end of last year.

On top of the £750,000 project, which has doubled the size of the station with new lecture rooms, drying rooms, a kitchen, communication room and showers and toilets, the brigade has also received a new state-of-the-art fire engine.

Station commander Twiggy Lake said like many other stations in Devon, North Tawton had become dilapidated over the years and this work was bringing it up to modern standards.

'We are lucky to be one of the first stations to be upgraded as part of the Devon Fire and Rescue Service's building programme and it is looking really good, although there is still a little way to go before the official opening,' he said.

Criteria for fire stations has changed not least to cater for female firefighters and visitors to the station. A lack of showers and places to dry clothes was particularly hard for North Tawton firefighters who spend a lot of time tackling floods in the town.

The brigade has been temporarily located at A J Gregory and Son in North Park while the refurbishment has been taking place at the station in Barton Street.

If groups are interested in visiting the fire station they can contact Twiggy on 01837 82249.