Northern Ireland’s Longest Serving Firefighter Celebrates 50 Years’

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) longest serving Firefighter, Watch Commander Ronnie Nicholl from Antrim Fire Station is celebrating 50 years of dedicated service to the local community. Watch Commander Nicholl was presented with a certificate of recognition from NIFRS at a special presentation night in Antrim Fire Station on Wednesday 28 August 2013, attended by his colleagues and family.

Retained Firefighter Nicholl commenced service at the age of 18 on the 29 August 1963 in Antrim Fire Station. He then took up promotion as Watch Commander for the Retained section in January 1995 and is still enjoying serving his home town of Antrim 50 years later.

Ronnie Nicholl, Watch Commander, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said:

“NIFRS is a big part of my life and I am so proud and honoured to work for an organisation that plays a central role in keeping our community safe. It has been a privilege to have served the local people of Antrim and beyond over the last 50 years, working alongside such courageous and dedicated colleagues. I’m fortunate to have enjoyed every minute of my career and I have no doubt it has helped keep me physically and mentally young.

“The role of Firefighters has broadened rapidly over the years.  Back when I first joined the Fire Service there was no such thing as breathing apparatus and it was mainly house fires we attended.  Nowadays we attend a wide range of emergencies such as fires, road traffic collisions, specialist rescues, flooding incidents and collapsed buildings.

“I would like to thank all the colleagues I have worked with over the last 50 years and my family and friends for their support and patience for when my beeper goes off.”

Gary Thompson, Area Commander, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said:

“With over 5 decades of service in protecting the local community, Ronnie is an asset to NIFRS and his many years’ experience attending countless emergency incidents and combined with his open friendly nature make him someone that others naturally turn to for help and advice. “Ronnie is a true professional, a great ambassador for NIFRS and is a mentor to the other Firefighters. He has a strong team around him and that is testament of his hard work and dedication to NIFRS and the people of Antrim.“I thank Watch Commander Ronnie Nicholl for his contribution to making our community a safer place.”

Chris Kerr, Chief Fire Officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service said:

“Ronnie’s 50 year service is a fantastic achievement and he has certainly witnessed many changes and developments within the organisation over those years. Ronnie’s love for the job is clear to see; he cares for the people he works alongside and for the people in his local community. He should be very proud of his 50 year service and, on behalf of all his colleagues in NIFRS, we wish him well for many more years to come.”

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