Beccles firefighter presented with long service award
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A father-of-two has been presented with a special award for 20 years service as an on-call firefighter at Beccles Fire Station.
Ian Turrell, who works full time as a machine technician at M&H Plastics in the town, joined the Beccles crew at the age of 18 after playing in the station’s darts team.
He was presented with the long service medal by The Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Lord Tollemache, at the Suffolk Fire and Rescue annual awards ceremony in Ipswich, joined by his wife Kelly and eight-year-old-son Ben.
He said: “It was a very proud moment.
“It was a lovely evening and I really enjoyed it.
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“When I joined I never saw myself doing it for 20 years but I still enjoy doing it.
“There have been a lot of changes since I started. There’s a lot more health and safety involved now but I guess that comes with the nature of the job. But we are also a lot quieter than we ever have been which I think is down to a lot more safety awareness work being done in the community.”
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Mr Turrell, 39, is the third longest serving member of the Beccles team.
His role is described as 3/4 cover, which means he is on call in the evenings, weekends and any other time he is not at work. He has to be on call a minimum of 120 hours a week.
He said: “It is difficult because it is a tie and if the children want to go out I have to check how many people are on-call first but after this length of time you just learn to fit it around things.
“It is probably the hardest for my wife because the call-outs are never at convenient times and she has to put up with quite a lot.”
During his time at Beccles, Mr Turrell has attended a wide range of operational incidents including the large chemical incident at CEFAS in Lowestoft, the Premier Foods fire in Bury St Edmunds and a collision in Worlingham which involved nine school children.
Beccles Fire Station currently has 13 firefighters. Each on-call firefighter is sent an alert when an incident comes in and the first six members to arrive at the station change into their uniform and board the engine. Mr Turrell said: “We are an unusual station because we’ve got the fire engine as well as a command support vehicle (CSV) and we try to keep them both on the run so they are available which means we need six people available at all times.”