West Yorkshire's longest serving on-call fire-fighter retires after more than 40 years service

One of West Yorkshire's longest serving on-call fire-fighters is retiring after more than 40 years service.

By Emma Ryan
Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 4:45 am

Watch Commander Alex Watson is also Ilkley's longest serving fire-fighter having spent 22 years at the station but has now decided to hang up the hoses and helmets and on clocking off for the last time, is encouraging people to follow in his footsteps and sign up to be an on-call fire-fighter.

Alex said: “No matter what type of incident you’re called out to, the team is always focused on a good outcome, and that feeling of being able to help people has been the most enjoyable and fulfilling part of my 41 years in the service by far.

“I’d like to thank my family and colleagues for their support over the years as they are the ones who’ve made it possible for me to see out such a long service. Throughout my time, I have met so many people in the organisation who have had an impact on my life. Those that trained me at the start of my career, those that I have attended incidents with, including Control staff, the support staff who form an integral part of our team and those that have supported me and helped me to manage Ilkley Fire Station for the past 22 years. All of them I would like to thank.”

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Alex Watson with WYFRS chief finance officer, John Roberts.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service currently has opportunities for more on-call firefighters in both rural and urban areas of the county including Otley, Ilkley and Skipton.

On-call firefighters are skilled people from all walks of life who offer daytime, evening and/or weekend cover at on-call fire stations in addition to their normal, day-to-day commitments.

Just like their whole-time counterparts, they work on the front line protecting their community. On-call firefighters are not based at station, but when on-call, individuals must be able to reach their station within five minutes of their pager going off.

Mr Watson added: “Being an on-call firefighter presents a rewarding and exciting opportunity to get paid alongside your day job while working with great people and contributing to good outcomes in your local area.”

Alex Watson pictured with friends from the Otley, Ilkley and Silsden watch.

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