Sheringham firefighter retires after more than four decades in the service
- Credit: Archant
Roger Richardson followed in the firefighting footsteps of his father and grandfather - after first tasting action as a five-year-old clambering on the Sheringham fire engine during carnival.
He has spent the last 44 years responding to emergency calls across north Norfolk, being called out in the middle of the night and abandoning family Christmas dinners.
Now the 66-year-old, who is one of Norfolk's longest serving firefighters has finally hung up his fireman's hat and retired.
Looking back over his years of service, he said much has changed since he began work on June 18 1970.
He said: 'I went to my first fire in a pair of overalls because they didn't have any kit.
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'I turned up at the station and they said 'get on the truck'. We weren't as safety conscious then as we are now.'
Mr Richardson, who lives in Sheringham with his wife Helen, said he remembers his first job was a hedge fire at the now closed Runton Hill School in West Runton.
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It began when Mr Richardson was five, when he appeared in a fire engine during carnival, and has followed through to his family, with 44-year-old son Paul a full-time firefighter and two grandchildren in the cadets.
And although Mr Richardson remembers funny moments, such as being called out to rescue a squirrel on a window ledge, he said there have been some difficult jobs.
He said: 'I went to an accident once which stuck with me. We turned the corner and it was my son's car sitting there.
'He was injured and taken to hospital but recovered.'
Mr Richardson fitted his firefighting commitments around his full-time job as a works engineer for Anglian Water, but said it was not always easy to get away.
He said: 'Being in the service is something the whole family has to cope with, but there is always someone who needs you more than your family.'
And he said it was the camaraderie of his fellow firefighters which kept him in the service for so long.
He said: 'I have built strong friendships. You become a close team. You have to be for the job you are doing. We shared the highs and the lows and I had a sense I was helping people out.'
Mr Richardson has not totally severed his links with the station, and is staying on as a volunteer mentor to the firefighter cadets.