Farewell for vacuuming fireman

PUBLISHED: 14:00 25 July 2011

Winscombe firefighter Dave Hares is retiring after 47 years' service.

Winscombe firefighter Dave Hares is retiring after 47 years' service.

Archant

ONE of the UK's longest-serving firefighters is retiring from Winscombe Fire Station after 47 years.

Watch Manager Dave Hares joined Avon Fire & Rescue Service as a 17-year-old back in 1964.

At the time, Winscombe Fire Station was part of the old Somerset Fire Brigade and Dave was the youngest ever recruit.

Although he was officially too young to join – recruits had to be 18 – Dave was accepted due to shortages of fire cover in the village and surrounding areas.

His retirement will end a 70-year association between the Hares family and Winscombe Fire Station, as Dave served alongside his father in the 1960s and 1970s.

Dave, who combines his service with a full-time job as an undertaker, said: “It was 14 years after I joined before we had breathing apparatus, so you can tell how long I’ve been in the job.

“My first call as a new recruit at Winscombe was to a road traffic collision on the A38. Sadly it was a fatal crash - I’ll never forget that day.”

Dave and wife Jane will be looking forward to his retirement, but villagers will miss a firefighter so dedicated he has been known to vacuum after a fire to make the wreckage look less daunting for homeowners.

Dave added: “Throughout the years there has always been a strong crew at Winscombe. It couldn’t have happened without the many colleagues and friends I’ve worked with, and the support of our families.

“This is a vital job to the community and long may the station remain in Winscombe.”

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