40 years and out for Chesham firefighter

Bucks Free Press: Neil Purvis receives his long service award from Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher Neil Purvis receives his long service award from Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher

A FIREFIGHTER who admits he doesn't like going up ladders marked his final day of service on Saturday before retiring after 40 years of serving the community.

Watch Manager Neil Purvis from Chesham Fire Station retired from Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service this week - having previously stepped down as a paramedic with the ambulance service in 2008 after 38 years with them as well.

The 64-year-old has been presented with a framed certificate celebrating his career by Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, Lord Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire.

He joined what was then called Buckinghamshire Fire Brigade on November 1 1973 and first served at Chesham's old fire station in Bellingdon Road, before the new one opened in 1995.

His first call-out was to an incident at Chesham Underground Station. Mr Purvis, who became a Crew Manager in 2003 and a Watch Manager in 2009, was on the first fire engine in attendance at the Industrial Adhesives Factory fire in Chesham, and was a Crew Manager at the Royal British Legion fire in Chesham.

With the ambulance service he attended such calls as a major M1 crash in 1979 and a plane crash near Heathrow in 1972.

Mr Purvis said: "I have some sad memories and lots of happy ones. I have enjoyed all my 40 years in the fire service, but most of all I will remember all the friends I have made.

"I still, and always will, have a thing about being up a ladder, so it will be good not to have to do that again."

He celebrated his retirement with a party at Chartridge Park Golf Club on Friday.

Station Manager Paul Scanes said: "On behalf of Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, I would like to publicly thank Neil for his dedication and commitment both to us and to the community of Chesham over the last 40 years."

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