Over 30 years of fighting fires

Firefighters: Ian Hepburn in centre, holding large trophy and certificate
Firefighters: Ian Hepburn in centre, holding large trophy and certificate

A retiring Firefighter who has served Banchory and Deeside for more than 30 years was recognized at a presentation this week.

Ian Hepburn was given a certificate and a large trophy of a Fireman, as well as a few other mementos at a gathering of colleagues at Banchory Fire Station.

“It’s bigger than you are, Ian,” one of the Firefighters joked at the awarding of the trophy.

Hepburn quickly quipped: “It’s a life size model.”

Hepburn, a self-employed Painter and Decorator, became a retained Firefighter at the age of 20, and has been on call for 120 hours a week for 30 years and 36 days.

Of his time working for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Hepburn said: “It was the most enjoyable job - it’s something every boy dreams of growing up and doing.

“Driving a fire engine, with the blue lights and the sirens going is an amazing experience.

“I’d recommend it to anyone.”

Hepburn is retiring after a long career of attending big fires, such as the Mar Lodge fire in 1991, and bigger fires in the city, but also of rescuing cats - and other animals - out of trees.

On his decision to retire, Hepburn said: “It just feels like the right time to stop.

“I’ll look back on my time with the service with all good thoughts, it really is a worthwhile job.”

Roddy Lees, Watch Manager at Banchory Fire Station, said: “It’s sad watching Ian go because I’ve worked 30 years with him.

“We started out boys and we’ve become men, raising families.”

John Morgan, Group Manager, said: “We are here to recognize close to 31 years of service.

“This has been a massive commitment by both Ian and his family.

“For me, and for the organisation, it’s 31 years of service which will be almost impossible to replace.”

Morgan added: “We’re always in need of retained Firefighters.

“They make a massive contribution to their communities, and it’s worth mentioning for employers that retained means retrained.

“Anybody that becomes a retained firefighter learns a load of transferable skills to bring back to their job.”

Anybody interested in becoming a retained Firefighter should visit: www.firescotland.gov.uk.