Trio of town firefighters honoured for long service
PUBLISHED: 16:22 22 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:22 22 November 2019
Between the three of them, they've been fighting fires and saving lives for more than 100 years.
And now the efforts of three long-standing Norfolk Fire and Rescue Cromer volunteers has been recognised at a special event.
Colleagues from across the area gathered at the town's fire station to celebrate with David Abbs, who retires this week after 40 years, Neil Babbage, who has also done 40 years with the Cromer crew, and John Baker, who was there for 27 years and now manages a group of fire stations full-time.
Mr Abbs, 60, said the camaraderie with the other crew members what part of what made the role so worthwhile.
He said: "It's all changed from when I joined. When you went to road accidents you had a hacksaw, an air chisel, and a crowbar, now if you go you've got hydraulic equipment.
"I thought this would be a good time to finish - I'm looking forward to not getting out of bed in the middle of the night."
Mr Baker, 54, said: "You're serving the people of the town, working with a great group of people. Everyone you work with brings something different to the table because of the different jobs and trades they do.
"It might be that you've got an electrician that can help you, or someone that works in the motor trade, or just the general skills that people have built up.
"When you're here for so long you see how everyone develops through their careers and through life - all the way through.
"It's a really good carer for anyone to pursue."
Mr Babbage was the station's first watch manager under the new rank to role structure.
The three were given awards for their long service - each featuring a firefighter's axe - and bouquets of flowers were presented to their partners for the support they given over the years.
Crew manager Chris Hele said: "Without your partner backing you up, you wouldn't be able to do it. They're unseen heroes, really."
The station is now having a recruitment drive for retained (on call) firefighters.
There will be an open evening on Thursday, December 19 from 7pm to 9pm. For an informal chat about becoming a firefighter, call Mr Hele on 07775 856265 or visit www.norfolkfireservice.gov.uk.
*The station has also appealed for old clothes, shoes, bags and linen. Each item given helps to fund physical, psychological and welfare support for the fire service community. Please drop off at Cromer Fire Station in Canada Road, in the bank provided.