AT 8am on Wednesday January 8 I put my fire kit into the boot of my car and left Knottingley fire station for the last time.
So what? You might ask.Well that’s been my place of work for the last 25 years.
For 25 years I’ve served the communities of Knottingley and Ferrybridge, the communities I’ve been part of for over 40 years.
At 8am on that morning the last red watch to serve at Knottingley finished their duty – it was a quiet a shift – we didn’t leave in a blaze of glory, in fact it passed without a second thought.
Knottingley has lost another smashing part of its community here and it’s going almost unnoticed.
I believe I’m the longest serving firefighter at the station since it was built in 1969 and, just as I’ve tried to do throughout my 25 years, the firefighters who were here before me and those I’ve worked alongside have always given their best. We’ve all endeavoured to do an excellent, professional job protecting and serving the community of Knottingley and Ferrybridge.
I’ve loved every minute of my time here. We’ve seen some dreadful lows and some wonderful highs and we’ve met some fantastic people.
I’ve been to every shop, every workplace, every office, every school and every home, it’s been a pleasure to be invited into those places, to meet the people of this community. I have loved meeting every pensioner, every man, woman and every fantastic and very supportive teacher and wonderful schoolkid.
We’ve built up a unique relationship with the schools and the pupils in them. I don’t think Knottingley and Ferrybridge are better communities without the fire station, even if I do understand the reasoning behind it but these are difficult times for everyone.
The new station at Pontefract will cover this area and they are a great bunch of people. Hard working professionals and very friendly. I hope you make them feel as welcome as you have me.
I’d also like to thank all the firefighters I’ve worked with at Knottingley. Great colleagues and fantastic friends, it’s been an honour.