A Monmouth firefighter has retired after completing 23 years of service writes DES PUGH.

Wayne Vaughan was given a sending-off ceremony at Monmouth Fire Station last week by former colleagues and current fire crews at the station on the Rockfield Road.

Watch Manager Sam Harding paid tribute to Wayne saying he was the ‘go-to’ man with his multiple craft skills “for many a cardboard carnival float and raft!

“He’s been a real valuable asset to the station and we have a small token of our appreciation”.

Wayne was presented with a card and an official certificate thanking him for his service.

“More importantly, I take great pleasure in presenting you with this Firefighters Presentation axe”.

When Wayne joined in September 1999, the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service had recently been created by a merger of the previous fire brigades of Mid Glamorgan, South Glamorgan and Gwent.

Colleagues at that time were Simon Brown and Brian Cleaves, who was station manager then.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes to the service over the time,” Wayne told the Beacon.

“But life’s circumstances change, and have for me a little bit as well, and although I’d like to have done a little bit longer, I’m looking to having some time off at weekends, I’ve done my bit,” he added.

“When I joined, some of the firemen had been here for around 20 years and there’s still good people here today.

“As a brigade, the facilities are really good, everything is there to back you up and at the end of the day, Monmouth is covered by a good crew and fire engines and everybody here is conscientious about being on call, it always worked for me that’s what kept people going,” he said.

He was a retained firefighter for those 23 years, working locally at Tri-Wall which he found worked well with his on-call duties.

“When I joined, Brian (Cleaves) worked at Tri-Wall too, it was a bigger company and there were at least 10 firemen working there so it worked well for the station and a local business but there is only two left there now so the people who are committed to doing the job are coming out of different types of work, so it is more difficult for them and everyone,” said Wayne.

When asked what changes he has seen over the years, he said the facilities are much better “and the training is much better, the commitment is still hard with the training, it’s not just the money.

“The money is good, it’s a great opportunity for a second job, but I always say to other people, always make it suits you and your family.

“If you make it work for yourself, the fire service is a great employer,” he added.

Sam Harding later told the Beacon “we are currently looking to recruit new people to join our team if anyone is interested feel free to call into the station on Tuesday evening or look on the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service website for details.”