Thanks to Bungay firefighter

A BUNGAY firefighter who has given 29 years’ service was presented with a certificate of thanks this week by Suffolk’s Assistant County Fire Officer.

Steven (Jock) Wilson, who has been watch commander at Bungay for the past eight years of his time, was praised by Phil Embury for his “dedicated service to the people of Bungay and Suffolk.”

The ACFO said at the presentation at Bungay Fire station on Tuesday: “Our on call staff give up their nights to be part of the fire and rescue service and Steven has given 29 years of his life. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is an inconvenience to himself and his family, day in and day out, not being able to take his wife out so he can remain on call and on station.

“Without people like Steven and the rest of the crew we would struggle to maintain the service we do.”

Jock, who is 49 and took over as watch commander from Philip Canham eight years ago, said his decision to retire was purely a time-management issue. He is a self-employed builder and he said being a firefighter was a big commitment and he had found he could no longer do it to the standard he would want.

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“It was a big decision but one that had to be made,” he said.

“I shall miss it, but I want to do other things, and I have got to be fair to my family.

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“It is a big commitment and they get the rough end of the deal.

“They deserve credit for the way they put up with the situation.”

Jock had been a fully committed retained firefighter who has fought fires and attended road accidents around Bungay and throughout Suffolk.

He was injured in one fire in the town some years ago in a courageous attempt to rescue a man from a blazing town centre flat – an incident which tragically ended in the man’s death.

Other incidents which he attended with the Bungay crew include the huge fire which destroyed the Centre Parcs holiday venue near Thetford – probably the biggest the Suffolk fire service has tackled anywhere since the second world war.

He was also at the big blaze at Ditchingham Maltings 13 years ago and big factory fires at Bury St Edmunds.

He received the Queen’s Award for Long service and Good Conduct a few years ago, but Jock said: “You don’t do it for the recognition.”

North district watch commander John Biffin said there was a big commitment to running a station and the pressures had increased over the years.

“There is more to do with people training and keeping them safe, and making sure there is always cover available in the town,” he said.

Although he is standing down, Jock will continue to provide a small amount of cover, and also take on a role helping with probation training.

Andrew Hall will take over as temporary watch commander for the Bungay crew while two candidates go through the promotion assessment process.

Bungay currently has a full crew of 11 firefighters.

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