Retirement for Billingborough firefighter
A firefighter has reflected on the highs and lows of his career as he reaches retirement.
Gary Bellamy joined the fire service in Essex before moving to Billingborough 20 years ago.
He has worked there as an on-call firefighter ever since, alongside his day job as a car bodywork specialist.
The 54-year-old leaves with a sense of pride, having made a difference to his community and saved lives.
He said: “Like everyone, I joined to help other people and serve my community. It’s a rewarding career but it’s also one hell of a commitment and you have to have an understanding family. It does put pressure on relationships and it can be hard in a village because you’ll want to go out, but have to be five minutes from the station when you’re on call.”
The role of a firefighter has changed over the years and working in a rural environment provided a different set of challenges. Within the first year of working at Billingborough, Gary attended 12 fatal road accidents. During his 13 years in Essex, he only attended one.
Among his most memorable call outs are a major fire at Stoke Rochford Hall and a blaze at a tyre firm. He has also rescued horses from dykes and a muntjac deer which was trapped in a
Gary, who lives in Billingborough, said: “There’s always an adrenaline rush when the pagers go off because you never know what you’ll be called to.”
To mark his retirement, Gary received a commemorative axe which is given to all retiring crew members. The tradition dates back to the days when all firefighters would receive an axe as part of their kit.
Anyone interested in becoming an on-call firefighter can call 01522 554170 or visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/lfr