Dedicated Darren Fletcher has hung up his fire hose after nearly 34 years at Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service.
The former fireman, who bid a fond farewell to his colleagues at Ilkeston Fire Station this week, said he would miss the camaraderie and support of his team.
The 49-year-old of West Hallam, said: “My service has been a real roller coaster. There have been some happy times, achievements and fun, but also some very sad times.
“I will really miss the camaraderie and sense of being part of a strong team.
“I will also miss whizzing around on a fire engine and working with some amazing people. I am sad to say goodbye but am thankful for having been able to spend so many years in my dream job.”
Darren, who turns 50 on December 2, started out in 1983 at just 16-years-old. He joined what was then called a junior section – a type of apprenticeship.
After two years he joined the fire service full time at 18-years-old.
He said: “It was something I always wanted to do.
“University wasn’t as popular back then and I wanted to get stuck into a career straight away and start providing. “The role appealed because it is out of the norm and not a ‘run of the mill’ job.
“There is no routine and no two days the same. There is some risk involved but it is exciting and amazing to have a good career which is based on helping people.”
Darren started out at Ascott Drive in Derby where he worked for around nine years. He was then promoted to crew manager and then took the role of watch manager at Ilkeston in 2002.
He also spent five years training new recruits, and enjoyed a short stint at the Alfreton station before returning back to Ilkeston Fire Station to finish his career.
The married father-of-two has been enjoying his time so far but hasn’t made any plans for the future.
He said: “Retirement has crept up on me if I’m honest. I am going to enjoy a family Christmas and spend some time thinking about what I can apply my skills to next.”