Borough firefighter retires after three decades of service

Firefighter Andrew Whittaker,  who is retiring after turning out from Hindley Fire Station for 30 years
Firefighter Andrew Whittaker, who is retiring after turning out from Hindley Fire Station for 30 years

A firefighter has said a fond farewell to his comrades after notching up 30 years at a borough station.

Andrew Whittaker says he will miss the camaraderie he has enjoyed while working for Hindley’s Green Watch.

But he’s now looking forward to spending more time working on his under-renovation second home in Bolton-le-Sands.

And even though he’s now left the Greater Manchester brigade, he will still be keeping in shape through regular football, cycling and training.

It’s all a far cry from when he started out with the fire service in May 1988, after spotting an advert while working in the aerospace industry in Lostock.

Andrew, who lives in Orrell with wife Gaynor, said: “I was a bit disillusioned with my job at the time and I remember coming out of Wigan College, after finishing some exams, and going into the job centre.

“You leafed through a book which was like a telephone directory and I remember thinking that this job looked alright.

“I made an application and then forgot about it for around 12 months because there was a bit of a waiting list back then.”

He later got the call to begin his formal training and was dispatched to Hindley as a result.

Three decades of late nights and early mornings later, Andrew has no regrets about spending his entire career at the Borsdane Avenue station.

“Hindley is a pretty good place to be because you’re serving as back-up to both the Wigan and Bolton areas, which can lead to all different kinds of call-outs,” he added.

“The stuff that happens day in and day out doesn’t always stick in your memory but I’ll miss the great bunch of lads at Hindley. There’s always been a great sense of camaraderie here.

“We’ve got another property in Bolton-le-Sands, which we’ve been doing up, so this will give us time to get out there.”

Watch manager Mike Wilding said: “Andrew has spent his whole career at Hindley, which is a credit to him.

“He will be sadly missed by his many colleagues and friends, especially his watch members.”

The 52-year-old has two grown-up children - 24-year-old Jonathan and Sally, 20.