A CORWEN firefighter has hung up his helmet and boots after spending 36 years with the service.

Watch manager Andy Ballard took part in his final drill session last week.

The 61-year-old old has been fighting fires as an on-call firefighter in the Denbighshire Town and its surrounding areas on behalf of North Wales Fire and Rescue Service since 1983.

Andy said: "I first signed up for the fire service as I thought it would be a good experience, a bit of fun and extra money for the family.

"I never thought that I'd end up lasting 36 years, especially as in those days you were expected to give it up at 55. But the laws on that changed and I carried on."

Andy added that, during his three decades with the fire service, the biggest incident he dealt with was a plane crash in the mountains above Carrog.

Having grown up in Merseyside, he moved to Corwen when he was 17 years old and is now employed as a petrol tanker driver in his main line of work.

He says he would urge anyone with an interest to sign up to be an on-call firefighter.

"With me retiring, the Corwen station is now down to just seven members, but it's like that at several other stations too," Andy said.

"It's a real shame because it's something I would highly recommend to anyone. You get to do something good for your community and its a job that's been really good to me."

A spokesperson for North Wales Fire and Rescue said; "Achieving 36 years in service is an outstanding achievement, bearing in mind the physical and emotional challenges firefighters experience almost every day and clearly demonstrates Andy’s devotion to the communities he served for so long.

“We all wish him a very long, happy and healthy retirement, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, the town of Corwen and the wider county are losing a very experienced, professional and very well-respected officer.”

On-call firefighters are trained and capable people at the front line, saving lives on a daily basis.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is always looking for new recruits. To find out more, visit: https://www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk/about-us/recruitment-and-vacancies/retained-duty-on-call-firefighters/on-call-firefighter-recruitment/