Bromyard fire station has many original features. Sub Officer Neville Turner, a fixture for 30 years, is the foundation, writes JONATHAN RUSSELL.

The self-employed builder started in 1971, bullied into joining the fire service by two brickies he was working with at the time.

It was not, he says, a decision he has regretted: "It's a great job. Once you've joined it becomes part of your system. That bleeper goes and the adrenaline takes over. It's very rewarding."

Not that the job is the same now as it was when he started. He has seen and overseen the introduction of new engines, equipment and uniforms. For the last 15 years he has done this as sub officer in charge of the station.

"When I started we just had one radio between the two engines. We didn't know where we were going half the time; we had to follow the water trail of the other engine."

There have been memorable moments over the years, including a fire at Bromyard Co-op that needed eight engines to control and a commendation for a rescue carried out during the 1998 floods.

The crew he was working with spotted an elderly couple waving a white sheet from a window in their mill in Alfrick.

By roping himself to another fire-fighter Mr Turner managed to enter the house where they found the water level was up to within two feet of the ground floor ceiling.

Though the husband had to be hospitalised for pneumonia they returned safely to their home where Sub Officer Turner later visited them.

"While we had been getting the couple out they were very concerned about their address book. My mate had picked it up, floating on the surface of the water. I went back to give it to them."

His concerns now are to keep fit to pass his yearly medical and get new people recruited into the station. Bromyard is short of two fire-fighters.

On call 365 days a year, 24 hours a day for 30 years Mr Turner has not once been over the legal alcohol limit to drive.

When he retires he plans to have a drink to celebrate: "Three pints," he said "and I'll be drunk."

Anyone interested in becoming a fire-fighter can contact Hereford fire station on 01432 274561.