Tributes paid to village firefighter
- Credit: Stephanie Mounsey
FIREFIGHTERS have paid tribute to their former ‘remarkable’ colleague, Norman Ryley.
Norman died on March 26 after a short illness, aged 66.
He was the longest-serving retained firefighter in the entire Avon Fire and Rescue Service, and had built up a reputation of being kind and well-liked.
He retired in April 2014 after 49 years as a retained duty system firefighter in his home village of Blagdon.
Norman joined Somerset County Fire Brigade in 1965, aged just 17, when the Green Goddess fire engines were still in service.
He spent the first two years of his career at Chew Magna Fire Station and in 1967 he moved to Blagdon Fire Station as a firefighter.
His father was a retained station officer who worked at Blagdon for 33 years.
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He was promoted to the role of watch manager, the most senior operational role at the station.
Like many of Avon Fire and Rescue Service’s retained firefighters, Norman spent his time balancing family life and a career as a self-employed motor mechanic with the demands of the job.
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Norman lived in Garston Lane with his wife Teresa and their dog.
Chief fire officer Kevin Pearson said: “I was deeply saddened by the news that Norman had passed away.
“To have served 49 years as a retained duty system firefighter is a remarkable achievement.
“Norman, who lived and worked as a mechanic in the village of Blagdon, was well known and well-liked. He was extremely dedicated to the fire and rescue service and would often be at the fire station carrying out additional duties. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Norman’s friends and family at this difficult time.”
Members of staff attended a memorial service on April 9 at St Andrew’s Church in Church Street, Blagdon.