I spent 18 years at Basildon on White Watch, a further year on the Green before transferring to White Watch Canvey for quieter life. After 5 years on the Island I joined Orsett Training Centre as a Breathing Apparatus Instructor.
During the last of my 3 years at Orsett, I sustained a knee injury whist learning to ski in Andorra and was pensioned off 'unfit for duty' after 26 years of service.
To be honest I was more than happy to go as the Fire Service at that time was going through a very unsettled period.
Fire-fighters were on a national strike, there were threats to the pension, talk of raising retirement age, shift pattern changes, etc. etc. etc.
The future was not looking good and many of those fears have proved to be well founded.
With all that was looming it was gift to get out early.
I had a great time in the job, made many good friends over the years and can honestly say I looked forward to going on duty every shift.
How many jobs can you say that about?
I could only serve a maximum of 28 years but retiring early on a Sub Officers salary made up for the shortfall and so I received the equivalent of a full 30 year fire-fighters pension.
I retired at 52 having enjoyed what I think were the best years in the service.