TWO brave firefighters are retiring after committing a combined 89 years to saving lives.
Charlie Cook, watch manager at Abbots Bromley fire station, and his colleague Jeff Bradbury had called it a day.
The pair have served the village station for 42 and 47 years respectively.
Mr Cook was one of the youngest watch managers in the brigade, taking the role after only five years as a firefighter.
He said: “There have been a lot of stories over the years, some good and some very sad.
“I can’t help remember two little girls killed in a fire in Uttoxeter about 15 or 20 years ago.
“When you’re carrying a young child out of a fire with no life signs it’s difficult to come to terms with.
“But, conversely, the best part of the job is when you’ve fetched people out of cars who have been very seriously injured and you find out they turned out ok and walked away.
“It’s then that you really feel like you’ve done your job properly and it’s very satisfying.”
Mr Cook said he was looking forward to having more freedom after leaving.
He will continue to run his own company, CC Plant Sales.
Mr Cook said: “The thing I’ll miss the most is the camaraderie at the station.
“It’s a very tight-knit team and everyone gets on so well, supported by a brilliant community in the village.
“I’d like to thank all my fellow firefighters for the tremendous support they’ve offered me over the years.”
Painter and decorator Mr Bradbury, 65, said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family.
He said: “You devote yourself to being a firefighter and sometimes that means missing out on some family occasions you really want to be part of.
“It can be a tough job when you have to deal with tragedy, but you have to remind yourself there was often nothing more you could’ve done.
“But the positive side of the job is great and I particularly enjoyed being such a big part of the community in the village.
“We raised a lot of money for charity causes too with initiatives ranging from car washes to canoe challenges.
“I remember one disabled lad from Newborough we helped out by raising money to buy equipment he needed.”
New watch manager Robert Hood paid tribute to his outgoing colleagues.
He said: “Past & present colleagues wish Charlie and Jeff a long and happy retirement.
“They are not only work colleagues, but great friends with lots of treasured memories.”