Wiltshire's High Sheriff has paid tribute to the "dedication, expertise and community spirit" of firefighters during a visit to Salisbury fire station.

General Ashley Truluck CB CBE was at the fire station in Ashley Road as part of Emergency Services Day.

He said: “It was an opportunity to commemorate the sacrifices by members of the 999 services over the years.”

After being shown around the base by Station Manager Matty Maggs and Watch Leader Tom Brolan, he chatted to fire crews about their work.

He is also chairman of trustees at the Wiltshire Community Foundation and used the visit to thank firefighters for stepping up during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I was pleased to show my appreciation for the outstanding community support role that the Fire and Rescue Service has played during the crisis, including fire engine drivers volunteering to drive NHS ambulances,” he said.

He began his year-long High Sheriff term in May and despite initially being unable to meet voluntary groups and organisations in person because of coronavirus, he made scores of ‘virtual visits’ via Zoom.

With restrictions easing he was able to carry out more face to face engagements but the new ‘Rule of Six’ has had an effect on that.

The Wiltshire Community Foundation has raised more than £1.1 million for its Coronavirus Response and Recovery Fund and distributed £850,000 to more than 200 groups across the county so far.