The Symington Family and all who work with them donated a fully-equipped ambulance to the Volunteer Fire Brigade of the historic Douro mountain village of Provesende on Monday 17th January. This donation continues the policy that Symington Family Estates have followed for several years of annually donating equipment to worthy causes in the Douro region, where the family have long and historic ties. In previous years, ambulances have been given to the Volunteer Fire Services of Sao João de Pesqueira and Pinhão as well as specialist medical equipment to the hospitals of Vila Real and Alijo and to the Red Cross Association of Sabrosa.
This year’s donation took place in the presence of the Civil Governor of Vila Real and the President of the region of Sabrosa as well as the Mayor of Provesende and other local dignitaries.
The local parish priest, Father Antonio Areias, blessed the new ambulance in the crowded town square of Provesende. All present hoped that Father Antonio would not need the ambulance himself anytime soon. This was not an idle wish as Father Antonio is known to be a fiercely competitive trail bike rider, regularly leading other bikers (including members of the Symington family) on hair-raising rides on muddy mountain tracks deep in the surrounding mountains when he is not attending to his flock in the many Douro villages that fall into his parish.
The hand-over ceremony was conducted by the five members of the Symington family who work in the family business: Paul, Johnny, Rupert, Dominic and Charles. Their fellow company directors, Antonio Filipe, Carlos Caldeira, Jose Alvares Ribeiro and Luis Martins were also present as was Michael Symington, aged 85, who retired from the family business 20 years ago in 1990 after a lifetime making Port and who continues to farm his own vineyard nearby.
Paul Symington 17 January, 2011