County firefighter hangs up his helmet after 260,000 hours service spread over 46 years
A Northamptonshire firefighter is set to retire on Wednesday (April 27) after nearly half a century of service. Graham Ayres will attend a special final drill night at Brackley Fire Station with a a special presentation by Chief Fire Officer Darren Dovey in front of family, friends and fellow crew members past and present. He signed up for the fire service in 1976, making him one of the longest serving retained firefighters in the county.
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Northamptonshire firefighter Graham Ayres is retiring after 46 years
Watch commander, Thomas Marchant, said: “Graham has never been afraid to get stuck in or get his hands messy, even towards the end of his career he’s still keen to get involved and show the younger firefighters how it’s done.
“His commitment to the fire service is an amazing achievement and he will always be part of the fire station family. “He has been a pleasure to work and I will miss the wisdom and experience that will leave with him.” Graham’s earned a commendation in 1981 for helping rescue two casualties while a property was collapsing around them and was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to fire service in 2019 after racking up 260,000 hours of operational cover on top of doing a normal daytime job.
After receiving his BEM, Graham said: “I used to work for Brackley Motors, long gone now, and one of the blokes there was a leading firefighter. “He said ‘they are still looking for firefighters, why don’t you come along and have a look.’ So I went along one Tuesday night and it all started from there.” Graham’s son, Jonathan Ayres, is also a serving firefighter at Brackley.
He said: “I have been on many jobs with my dad, and attended a whole array of incidents some good, some bad, but we all look out for each other. “He has passed his knowledge onto to myself and to all the crews past and present. “I joined in 2006 I’m now a crew commander.
It was strange to start with riding in charge of the crew and my dad — but what will be even stranger is looking in the back of the appliance and he no longer being on the truck.”
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