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End of an era as Skipton firefighters retire
9:00am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
The retirement of a long-serving firefighter marks the end of a era at Skipton Fire Station.
Skipton man Mark Turner, 41, has stepped down as a retained firefighter, bringing to a close years of service by his family.
For 23 years, Mark has been responding to house fires, road accidents and animal rescues. He started when he was just 18.
But the fire service was part of his life long before that, as he was often brought into the fire station by his dad, Colin, who himself served at the Skipton station for 34 years. Colin’s brothers, Kelvin, and Rodney, served 17 and six years respectively.
Colin, who received an MBE for his work to the fire service and charity, is very proud of his family’s long service, “That’s probably something that won’t ever happen again,” he added.
Mark said: “Being a firefighter runs in my blood. I was brought up with the fire service and I’ve been going to the fire station for as long as I can remember.
“It’s a very rewarding job,” added Mark, who also works full-time as a train driver manager for Northern Rail. “I’ve enjoyed the time with colleagues and that’s what I’ll miss the most. But I won’t miss being on call and having to get out of bed at one or two in the morning to stand out in the freezing cold.”
Mark said that being on call was a big commitment because “you couldn’t venture one mile out of the Skipton Fire Station radius”.
However, a promotion at work in November meant that Mark would no longer be based in Skipton.
Coincidentally, his work colleague at Northern Rail, fellow Skipton man Mark Cory, also served as a retained firefighter in Skipton and retired on the same day as Mark after 13 years of service.
Mr Cory, 45, who retired on the grounds of ill health, said: “I suffered an ankle injury in 2008 and couldn’t get back to full fitness. I could no longer carry the extra weight that you have to do as a firefighter.”
His fondest memory of the fire service occurred on his wedding day in June 2002.
“Gail and I got married outside the register office on Water Street,” he said. “All of my colleagues from the fire brigade attended and turned out in their best uniforms.”
Another of his memories involved Mark’s dad, Colin, who dressed up as Santa Claus and used a fire engine to deliver presents to youngsters at St Andrew’s Church Hall.
“Driving (the fire engine) was favourite part of the job,” added Mark, who described one of his most memorable moments as responding to a fire at a block of flats in Fulford, near York, 45 miles away.
“It was memorable was because I was driving on ‘blues and twos’ a lot further than the usual four miles.”