A former fireman has left his ladders behind to look after the feet of residents living in South Craven.

Eastburn’s James Ramsden, 49, who was a retained firefighter for 11 years and a quarry wagon driver for eight, decided to change his career to help his wife, Lindsay, in her mobile foot clinic.

“She was getting so busy,” said James. “There’s a big need for chiropody in South Craven.”

James’ determination to take up a training course at Stonebridge College in Cornwall increased when his wife told him: ‘You’ll never be able to do what I do.’

“She never helped me from start to finish,” said James, who took two years to complete the course while he was working. “I had to learn the trade myself.”

But since qualifying as a foot healthcare practitioner, James has enjoyed the work.

“People’s feet are like fingerprints – they’re all different,” he said. “When I’ve done something for a client and leave them walking around with a smile on their face, that is the ultimate job satisfaction.

“It just goes to show if we do a good service people will come back and some will sing our praises.”

James and Lindsey run a foot-care clinic on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Main Street in Cross Hills but the rest of the week they are busy with private clients, which includes visiting nursing homes in the area.

“It’s important to be mobile because people with foot problems can’t always get around well,” said James.

One of their biggest services is toenail cutting, which is particularly popular for people suffering from diabetes.

“Toenails grow at a rapid rate and a lot of people can’t reach down to cut them,” he said.

Provision of foot healthcare services in South Craven has been a big issue since the closure of the Cross Hills Podiatry Clinic in 2005.