LONG-SERVING Pendle firefighter Richard Armstrong is retiring after helping to save lives in the area for 30 years.
He will be missed by his colleagues after making a major contribution to the fire service and being a regular driver of fire engines.
Mr Armstrong (52), of Lord Street, Colne, was born in Brierfield and went to the town’s Walter Street School. He later moved to St Paul’s School in Nelson and then Edge End High School.
He joined Lancashire County Fire Brigade - now Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service - in July, 1981. After training for three months at Chorley, he was assigned to Accrington Fire Station, but in 1984 he transferred to Nelson. And he has been here ever since.
He was already trained as a fire appliance driver before he came to Nelson and has done much driving over the years.
Although he has had a busy working life, he has also had active hobbies. He is a regular cyclist and can ride 60 to 100 miles a day. He is a member of Burnley and Pendle Cyclists’ Touring Club. He is also a keen fisherman and a folk music fan.
His daughter Rachel (20) is currently studying law at Lancaster University.
He said: “I am going to miss the job, but I’m looking forward to retirement. I will certainly miss my colleagues. The biggest fire I can remember was the Northrop Mill blaze at Blackburn, which was before I moved to Nelson.”
He was given a commendation for his part in the disasterous Burns Street explosion in Nelson, which happened in 2002. Several houses were badly damaged by the blast. He has also been given the fire services’s Long Service and Good Conduct award and the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.
He officially retires from May 1st but has completed his working days because of holidays he needs to take. Last Friday was his last operational day.
His colleagues on Red Watch - which he has been in since 2000 - organised a celebratory bike ride to mark his retirement. He had previously been with White Watch.
Mr Armstrong said: “I’m looking forward to putting my feet up for a bit - but I will be going out on my bike as well!”
Station Commander Barry Hornsby of Nelson Fire Station said: “We would like to express our thanks for the amount of work Richard has put in over the last 30 years. He will be sadly missed.
“He has always been a hard worker and nothing has ever been too difficult for him.”