Retained Whaley Bridge firefighter says goodbye after 30 years of service

Tim Hutton has given 32 years to the community as an on-call firefighter
Tim Hutton has given 32 years to the community as an on-call firefighter

A man whose life was ruled by his on-call pager for more than three decades is finding time for himself once again.

Tim Hutton knew from his early teens he wanted to be an on-call firefighter and follow in his grandfather’s and uncle’s footsteps and it wasn’t until he was 23 he managed to achieve his dream.

Tim Hutton, front row centre, with the team of Whaley Bridge retained firefighters before he retired

Tim Hutton, front row centre, with the team of Whaley Bridge retained firefighters before he retired

After 32 years of service at Whaley Bridge fire station he hung up his uniform in August and said goodbye to his crew mates.

Tim, 55, from Jodrell Road said: “It feels ever so strange, I keep reaching for my pocket to see if my pager is there as I haven’t heard it go off for a while but it not.

“I’ve missed countless meals, delayed going on holiday with my wife but being a firefighter has been such a big part of my life for such a long time it will take some getting used to.”

After working his way up from firefighter to crew manager to officer in charge Tim has been on thousands of call outs but still remembers his first job.

He said: “We were called to a gas explosion in Buxton near the old cattle market, I hadn’t been with the service long

“The husband had done some DIY and tinkered with the gas boiler but not done it properly. When his wife came in she turned it on and the whole thing blew up.

“The cupboard doors came off and flew across the room but the wife kept saying ‘never mind that what about my tights?’ which were all laddered.

“This job is a privilege , you see the worst of people as they are at their most stressed or vulnerable but you are also there to make them better and help them.

“There is no getting away from the sad call-outs but when you save someone’s life and you keep a family together there really is no better feeling in the world than that and you know you are doing something worthwhile.”

Tim who started work at Edward Halls, then became a driving instructor and is now a chimney sweep has always managed to give 24 hours cover while he was a retained crew member.

“It’s a big ask but you know what you are getting into when you sign up and it has been so rewarding over the years.”

Tim’s is now reflecting on how to fill his free time.

“When I first started in June 1986 you left the service at 55, I know this has been pushed to 65 but that wasn’t for me.

“I’ve got memories to last me a lifetime and friendships that will stay with me forever as well but I’ve done my bit for the community and it’s time for me now.

“I used to have a dog and he used to race me to the car and ride in the truck with us but I haven’t had another dog in years.

“In January my wife and I got a cocker spaniel puppy and he needs more attention, with that and my age it felt the right time to say goodbye.

“The lads are all gutted and I’m sad to be going but the time felt right for me and me stepping down gives others underneath me a chance to move up the ranks just as I did.”

Now with more time on his hands Tim is taking Bodhi out for three walks a day and has already been away for the week with wife Emily.