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Britain's longest serving firefighter has retired after working for more than half a century

Britain's longest serving firefighter has retired after working for more than half a century

He will continue to volunteer for the service.

Britain's longest serving firefighter has retired after dedicating more than half a century to saving lives.

Watch commander Dave Farries has hung up his helmet almost 55 years to the day since he started with the fire service.

He first joined the ranks as a teenager on August 19, 1968, when he signed up to the South Eastern Fire Brigade as a junior fireman, shortly after moving to Edinburgh.

He has taken on different roles through the years including working as an instructor and a fire investigator, and was even awarded a Queen’s Fire Service Medal in 2014.


Dave was presented with a retiral certificate just a few weeks short of his 71st birthday.

He said: "It is like cutting off an arm. I’m taking a big part of me right out.

"I’ve loved my career and the opportunities I’ve had through the fire service."

Dave, who lives in Edinburgh with his wife Michelle, was praised by colleagues who said he 'dedicated his life' to serving others.

"Many people thought I would just go on until I dropped and I probably could have but I thought better of it. I’ll be 71 in a few weeks and now is the time to go," he said.

He continued: "It’ll be strange not wearing my uniform after I officially retire. I always have my uniform on at work. It’s like a second skin.

"I will miss that I am no longer an official member of the service."

In recent years, he has worked as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Heritage Officer.

He was integral in the opening of the new Museum of Scottish Fire Heritage in Edinburgh, where he will continue as a volunteer after his retirement.

He says he'll still miss the day-to-day action of being on duty.

“I always said I wasn’t going to pack it in until the new museum opened. I needed to be in uniform to make sure I got my tuppence worth in," he said. "Now it is up and running, it is a good time to call it a day."

He continued: “You are educating people. Many people know very little about the fire service history here in Scotland. I see my job now as spreading the word.

"While I will still be connected through volunteering with the museum, it is still a big part of my life, which is completely changing."

Dave's son, who is called David, followed in his father's footsteps and is currently an assistant chief officer at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

He paid tribute to his dad, describing him as someone who 'eats, sleeps and breathes' the fire brigade.

"My father lives the values of the fire service, day in day out," David said.

He continued: "He is unreservedly and unapologetically a ‘company man’ who eats, sleeps and breathes fire brigade.

"He’s a man who is respectful and respected, not only for what he’s seen but for what he’s done and how he’s done it."

Chief officer Ross Haggart said: "Dave epitomises what it means to be a firefighter. He has selflessly dedicated his life to help and serve others.

"He has had a profound and positive influence in teaching and developing other firefighters during his long career.

"Dave’s legacy on our service will always remain. We are grateful for his tireless commitment and the huge amount of personal time he has given to keep our heritage alive."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: News, UK News