Fire fighter returns to base to celebrate 90th birthday
- Credit: Archant
One of the first fire-fighters stationed in a Norfolk village has been reliving his time on the force during a special visit on his 90th birthday.
Fire fighters past and present gathered at Hethersett fire station on Friday to celebrate Ronnie Feek's 90th birthday, 45 years after he retired from the force.
Waiting at the station were father and son Kevin and Mikey Kiddell, who had organised for a 1963 Commer fire truck, similar to what Mr Feek would have driven in the early days, to visit the party from Bressingham Steam Museum.
Mr Feek joined Hethersett retained fire division when he was 40, using his many years experience as a coach driver to take on the manual fire engines.
The Hethersett father was well known among his retained colleagues for being a speedy driver, although the 1963 engine had a top speed of 29 mph, and he said he often found himself in scrapes on the way to jobs.
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His son, Paul Feek, said he remembered a particularly hot summer in 1976 when his father was out in the truck more than he was at home and that the fire fighter would sleep with his beeper under his pillow.
Walking round his former station, Mr Feek said he was surprised by how little the building had changed.
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Mr Kiddell, who is a current fire-fighter in Hethersett, said the biggest difference was the equipment, which was lighter and more efficient than what was available in the 1970s.
Despite the technological advances, the 90-year-old believed the job remained much the same and said: "It's about putting out fires and cutting people out of cars. I would come back today if I could."
After a tour of the station the party headed next door to the Kings Head pub on Norwich Road, where Mr Feek spent many evenings with crewmates.
He joked that often pints were left half finished when their alarms alerted them to an incoming call.
He added: "I still miss it now; it was a good old crew. It's all about being part of that team."