90-year-old former firefighter shoots off hose as birthday treat

90-year-old former firefighter shoots off hose as birthday treat

Bill Waywell shows he can still handle a hose reel

Bill Waywell is surrounded by firefighters as he gives his visit the thumbs-up

Bill Waywell shows he can still handle a hose reel

First published in News Bury Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A 90-YEAR-OLD former firefighter turned back the clock and donned a blue uniform and yellow jacket again — more than 50 years after he retired.

Bill Waywell was a firefighter at the old fire station at The Rock for 10 years in the 1950s and 1960s after returning from serving in the World War Two as a tank driver.

As a special present for his 90th birthday in June, Mr Waywell’s granddaughter Claire got in touch with the fire service, who arranged for him and his wife Nellie to be given a tour of the new station in Chamberhall Business Park.

He spoke to current firefighters about how much the service had changed, and got the chance to be involved in a practical demonstration, including using hose jets and reels.

Mr Waywell, of Walmersley Road, said: “I really enjoyed the visit to Bury — I was chatting to the lads and it all came back to me.

“Even though I don’t know them, I feel like I’m part of the family. I wish I could come back to do a few shifts with these lads.”

Mr Waywell joined the fire service in 1953 after working as a landscape gardener after the war before emigrating to Rhodesia in 1963 with his wife to join his brother there.

He then moved back to Bury in 1977 where he got a job as head of security for Tetrosyl. During the visit, Mr Waywell reminisced about the old days while watching a film from 1959 showing a day in the life of a firefighter.

He added: “I felt lost when we were on our way to the station because it had moved — I’d always known it being at The Rock.

“We really enjoyed ourselves on the watch in those days.

“It was hard, they really put me through my paces during my training in Manchester.

“We had fun — the children would come to the station and we had parties at Christmas.”

Claire, who also visited the station with her twin one-year-old girls Zara and Lucy, said: “I wanted to do something special for grandad’s 90th birthday so I just got in touch and arranged to come down to the station.

“I think he was a bit apprehensive about coming at first but he really enjoyed it — we all did.”

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