A FIREFIGHTER who was among those to battle a tragic fire at Hereford's Sun Valley chicken factory has hung up his boots after more than 30 years with the service.

Tenbury Firefighters have bid a fond farewell to a long-serving and popular firefighter, John Higgins as he retires from the service.

John joined the fire service on 14th April 1986 and served his entire 35 years at Tenbury. During most of his career he was also a qualified emergency blue-light driver.

John attended many notable incidents, including the major fire at Sun Valley in Hereford where two firefighters tragically lost their lives and a major road traffic collision on the M42 which at the time was the largest collision to have ever occurred in the UK, with around 140 vehicles involved.

He also attended the major fire at Richard Lloyds in Burford and the flooding events that in more recent years have rocked the town.

He saw many changes during his time in the service, including the move from plastic yellow leggings, tunics and cork helmets to the modern day technical kit now used, improvements in rescue equipment for road collisions and more technical knowledge of fire behaviour and extinguishing methods.

Commenting on the fire at Richard Lloyds, John said: “The night the fire broke out I was working a night shift at Esterform when our fire alarm detected the fire at Lloyds.” “When we arrived at the fire, I was sent around the back with a hose and another firefighter, but as the water ran out and the windows blew, we had to run to escape the flames”

On his last day of service, the crew at Tenbury arranged for his fire pager to be set off, for one final turnout, only for him to arrive at the fire station to find a parade of all the crew and his family waiting to give him a round of applause.

There are currently a number of firefighter vacancies at Tenbury and we are recruiting. Anyone interested in applying should visit https://www.wmjobs.co.uk/job/3066