Retained fireman's 37-year shift is finished
A TOTNES firefighter has thanked his colleagues for a memorable send off after more than 37 years service.
Niall Osman, 57, has retired as a retained fireman in the town and to recognise his dedication his colleagues laid on a special party.
Niall and his family were picked up from their Totnes homes in a vintage Dennis F8 fire engine and taken to a surprise party at the Royal Seven Stars Hotel.
He was then given a salute by senior fire officers followed by a This is Your life style celebration.
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Niall said: "I really enjoyed the night. It was great — if a little embarrassing with some of the stories.
"I would like to thank Totnes fire station for all they did for the night. They did a fine job."
Niall, who also works for South Hams Council, joined the fire service in 1975 when he saw an appeal in the local press.
"When I first joined I had a broken leg," he said.
"I'm not sure what they thought when I walked in on crutches but they took me on anyway."
During his time he has covered all the major fires including the East Gate fire and the Cott Inn at Dartington, Bridgetown Church and many more.
Paying tribute to him Totnes station commander Roger Williams said: "Serving as a retained firefighter for 37-and-a-half years is an outstanding effort as it takes some sacrifices form family and work life commitments. It is quite a remarkable achievement in this day and age.
"The unsung heroes are his wife and four children. It is a huge commitment being a retained firefighter not least from your primary employment. For the endless spoilt dinners, missed school performances and aborted shopping trips we are indebted to Sally. Without her support he would not have been with us for 37 years.
"He will be sadly missed. He is a great character, extremely likeable and well known and well respected within the town and that is why we were able to secure the visit by the vintage F8 fire truck which is owned by Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service.
"I would like to say a big thanks to friends and family and everyone who turned up to congratulate Oz on his retirement and the Seven Stars for putting on the event and all their help."