A Morpeth man who has served the community for the past 36 years has spoken of his pride at being awarded an MBE by Prince Charles.
Watch manager Jimmy Gair, who combines his role as a retained firefighter with a full-time job as a butcher in Longframlington, was included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
He received the accolade during a recent investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
He is the longest serving watch manager within the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), with a level of commitment to be admired.
Alongside his day job, Mr Gair often provides over 120 standby hours per week to enable him to respond to emergency situations.
He said: “It was a wonderful day for the family.
“I was getting a bit nervous as Prince Charles went down the line, but as soon as I received the MBE I felt great and very proud.
“When he spoke to me, he was very interested and thankful for the job I do in the fire service and I told him that we had met once before as he officially opened the NFRS headquarters in West Hartford a few years ago.”
Following major flooding in Mr Gair’s home town, NFRS introduced the county’s first specialist Swift Water Rescue Vehicle that he would go on to manage. He soon qualified as a Swift Water Rescue Technician, which meant he could provide further help to his local community in any future floods, and he regularly uses these skills to train partner agencies.
The service now has three of these vehicles – one is based at Pegswood Fire Station and the others are at the Berwick and Hexham stations.
Mr Gair, who is set to retire at the end of October, added that he appreciates being able to do his bit for communities across Northumberland.
NFRS chief fire officer Alex Bennett said: “This is a well-deserved honour for Jimmy and everyone in the fire service is proud of his achievements and commitment over many years.
“The fact he is able to dedicate so much time to helping others, while working full-time, really is inspirational.”