A Kingsbridge firefighter is about to celebrate 41 years of service.
Jeremy Wilcox (59) began as a fireman in Kingston which is a one-pump voluntary station near Bigbury on April 22 1982 before transferring to Kingsbridge.
His service was commemorated recently at Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue headquarters in Exeter.
Jeremy said: “There have been some very high highs and some very low lows. When things don’t go to plan we go back and talk about it and then try to forget about it.
“I love driving on the blues and twos and have been a driver for 19 years. I think when I eventually do retire I’m going to miss that, especially when I see a fire engine heading out on a shout.
“We cover a large area of around 264 square miles from Kingsbridge. If we’re called to say East Prawle that can take around half an hour in the summer. We also go to Dartmouth and Salcombe even though they have their own fire station. If needed we can go even further. We’ve been called out to Plymouth a few times in the past.
“My dad was a firefighter at Kingston and my brother also volunteered although not for long. It sort of runs in the family but it’s not for everyone.”
In addition to going on shouts the team also take part in Monday night drills. They receive around 250 shouts a year but sometimes many more.
Technology has come on a pace over the years. In the past local knowledge was key in finding the way to where they were going but now electronics pinpoint the exact position.
Jeremy added: “My wife Tanya is very patient when my pager goes off in the middle of the night waking her up and I have to get going.”
Jeremy speaks of the teamwork and comradeship. He said: “I’m the second oldest, the oldest being 60 but we’ve been getting some youngsters in who a really enthusiastic. I’m hoping to keep going for as long as possible but we have to pass a tough fitness test once a year and it is this which will tell me when it’s time to stop.”
Jeremy is proud of the service he has been able to give to his local community and the visit to the Service HQ at Clyst St George was a fitting recognition for a local hero.