NEW York’s fire chief has praised the people of Bolton for the “great comfort” the town’s act of remembrance on September 11 will bring to his firefighters.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano has sent a letter to the people of Bolton after learning about the special service to be held in Victoria Square tomorrow, the 10th anniversary of the terrorists attacks.

He said: “It is heartwarming to all of us here at the fire department to know that you still think of the brave 343 firefighters and fire officers that were lost on September 11, 2001.

“I know that as we gather in New York to remember our fallen members, it will be a great comfort to know that across the ocean our English friends will be remembering them too.”

The letter describes the “strong bond” shared by firefighters “the world over”.

“That’s why I want to send this message to all the members of the Bolton Borough Greater Manchester Fire Rescue — as well as the people of Bolton who will be with us in spirit to mark our losses at the World Trade Center.”

The special service to take place on Sunday was put forward by Bolton’s fire chief, Borough Commander Ian Bailey. He contacted Mr Cassano telling him about the event.

Mr Bailey said the day would allow people to find out more about the role of the fire service and remember the many lives lost.

He said: “I would like a broad range of people from across the community to come and pay their respects.

“If the service promotes community cohesion, that will be a good thing.”

The day will start at 9am, when Mr Bailey collects a lantern from Bolton Parish Church where it will be blessed by the Vicar of Bolton, the Rev Matt Thompson.

The lantern will be taken around the fire stations in the borough, starting at Farnworth then followed by Bolton North, Horwich and Bolton Central.

From 11am, fire stations across the borough will stage open days for the public.

At each fire station — apart from Bolton Central which will be taking part in the service in Victoria Square — there will be a two-minute silence at 1.46pm, the time the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center 10 years ago.

The Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Noel Spencer, said: “I was deeply moved to read the letter received from the City of New York Fire Commissioner Salvatore J.

Cassano, which was addressed to the citizens of Bolton.

“I am sure everyone in the Bolton family will want to remember all those in the emergency services who gave their lives trying to help others on 9/11 and to remember how their families and friends must still be trying to come to terms with the tragedy that unfolded on that day 10 years ago.”

He added: “As this letter is shared with our town’s citizens through The Bolton News, I would like to take this opportunity to ask everyone to join us for the special service being held in Victoria Square at 1.30pm tomorrow when we will all have the opportunity to send our caring thoughts and prayers to those in New York who are still suffering as a consequence of the atrocities experienced on September 11, 2001.

“All around the world, the emergency services risk their lives in the call of duty and our service will give us the opportunity to pray for their safety, particularly remembering our own town’s emergency services officers who continue to do their utmost to ensure our safety.”

● See our coverage of the 9/11 remembrance service in The Bolton News on Monday