Firefighter to hang up uniform after nearly 43 years of dedicated service
For nearly 43 years Alan Prior has shown commitment and dedication to his role as a retained firefighter.
But after attending numerous fires, car crashes and missing time with his family, he will hang up his uniform for the last time when he retires on his 70th birthday on May 25.
After being encouraged to become an on-call firefighter in 1975 while working at Camvac in Thetford, the 69-year-old has not looked back and for the last 23 years has been watch manager for the retained crews at Thetford Fire Station.
“It has been really enjoyable and it has been a good adventure,” said the father of two, whose son Leigh is a full-time firefighter in King’s Lynn.
“It is something that is not normal in your everyday life. You alert goes off and you never know what you are going to, that is part of the thrill of the job.”
He added: “Helping people is one satisfaction you do get. It is nice afterwards when you hear how people have recovered. You feel as though you have done something good.”
While offering up his time as a firefighter, Mr Prior was an area technician for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service for 20 years and worked at Camvac for more than 20 years.
His jobs have allowed him to dedicate as many hours as he can to the fire service.
He said he will now look forward to going places with his wife Christine and spending time with his five grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
He said: “You have got to have a very understanding wife and family. At times I have actually felt selfish. You book a place to go out and just before you leave you, the alert goes off and you could be away for hours.”
Some of the Mr Prior’s memorable incidents include helping at the during the fire at the Buncefield Oil Depot in Hertfordshire, and the D&L Plastics fire, Thetford, in 1991.
Mr Prior said he will find it hard leaving the job and his colleagues.
“One thing you get in this job is you are working together and get close to people,” he said. “You bond with your crew. I have been lucky to have been in charge of the retained people and I have always had good crew.”
Anthony White, station manager at Thetford, said: “For nearly two generations Alan has been a dedicated and loyal member of Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. He has touched the lives of many people in Thetford and the surrounding villages. People come in here and look up to him and he has done a lot for people in the service.”