Bob's Final Drill

From left to right: HR Director Paul Tirebuck with Bob Morris, HR administrator Hannah Edgington and Business Unit Manager Duncan Crawford, with firefighters Paul Scott and Mark Farmer and creamery employees. Back right are Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority chairman Stuart West, vice chairYvonne Holyoak and Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor.

Minsterley firefighter Bob Morris is hanging up his helmet after a 38 year career with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Bob (60) followed his father into the retained fire service joining Worthen Fire Station in December 1970. Over the years he has turned out at all times of the day and night to put out fires in homes, farms and fields as well as rescuing motorists after car crashes.

A farm worker for 30 years, Bob now works in the cold store at St Ivel's Uniq food manufacturer's in Minsterley – one of the fire services valued employers' who allow four of their staff to turn out for emergency calls with the fire service during working hours.

Chief Fire Officer Alan Taylor praised the company for allowing so many of its employees to carry out fire and rescue emergencies in the community. He presented the company with a framed certificate thanking them for their support.

"Without employers' like Uniq we would be struggling to have enough retained firefighters to carry out their duties in rural Shropshire. We are very grateful to them and all the other Shropshire employers' who help us in the same way."

Bob recalled his crew being the first on the scene to deal with shocked and injured passengers after a head on train crash at Westbury station in Spring 1987.

"It took ten feet off the front of each train. We were the first machine there and it was quite a crash causing a few broken bones," said Bob, watch manager at both Worthen and Minsterley fire stations.

He was on duty with his crew for the first major blaze at COD Donnington in Telford but it was a fire at the Stiperstones which raged for six weeks during the boiling hot Summer of 1976 which really stuck in Bob's mind.

"We were there at one stretch for 27 hours trying to beat it out. There was not enough water to deal with it. When the sun came up in the morning it would be on fire and burning underground. Finally they dug a firebreak around it with bulldozers to stop it."

Retirement as a retained firefighter means Bob can now enjoy a relaxing pint in his local, the Bridge Hotel.

"It will be nice to enjoy a pint without having to leave it behind."

Bob added: "I will miss it. You are helping people in distress and I would recommend anyone to join the retained fire service. It's been well worth it."

10th December, 2008