Over the course of the fifty years, Ian has demonstrated an exceptional level of dedication to his local community.
Ian’s firefighting journey began on 1 October 1973, at the age of 21, as an On-Call firefighter at Brough Fire Station for East Riding Fire Brigade, six months before Humberside Fire and Rescue Service formed.
Over the years, Ian rose through the ranks and has been the Watch Manager at Brough for the past 27 years. Ian’s primary employment was with Hawker Siddeley, who had 14 firefighters working for them.
Six months into the job, Ian attended one of the largest incidents in the Service’s history at Flixborough. Remembering the incident, Ian told us: “I remember being at home and heard a huge bang. I went outside and saw a large plume of smoke in the air across the Humber and decided it would be best to head to the station. The incident lasted three weeks and it was a years’ worth of experience condensed into a short amount of time”.
Since 1973 many things have changed, but Ian told us that one of the key changes has been in the equipment used for road traffic collisions; “back then we used to carry half a dozen hacksaws and a Land Rover from Beverley Fire Station would come with some hydraulic equipment, a big difference from what we use now.”
Another change Ian has seen has been an improvement in prevention work and educating the community on home fire safety, which has reduced the number of house fires.
Ian comes from a firefighting family and always wanted to be a firefighter. His father was also a Watch Manager at Brough, and he remembers the smell of smoke on his father’s kit as it sat at the back door of their house. Both of Ian’s brothers were Full-Time firefighters, his sister worked in the Control room, and his niece still works at Service Headquarters.
When we asked what he would miss about the Service, Ian told us: “More than anything, I will miss the people and the Service will always be a part of my life. It’s the best job in the world and if anyone is thinking about joining, my advice would be, go for it!”
Phil Shillito, Chief Fire Officer commented on this remarkable achievement: “Ian is the first person in the Service's history to complete 50 years of service in an operational capacity.
“His commitment to safeguarding the local community has earned him the admiration and respect of all those fortunate enough to work alongside him.
"He has actively been a part of the Brough community, demonstrating the important role our On-Call Fire Stations and their firefighters play in their communities. Promoting the work we do and providing fire safety information through fire station open days and visiting local schools.”