FIREFIGHTER Keith Hadley has bowed out of the profession he loves, saying farewell to Bury Fire Station where he has spent 30 years serving his hometown with his Green Watch 'family'.

Bury born and bred, Keith joined the fire service at the age of 29, after working as a mechanic opposite the old fire station on The Rock.

"I used to talk to some firefighters who would bring their cars in and they said how good it was," said Keith, who decided to apply after spotting an advert in the paper about a fire service recruitment drive.

"I have been an operational firefighter for 30 years and 20 days at Bury Fire Station and always on Green Watch.

"I am going to miss everything about the job, I love the fact of going out and helping people and even after 30 years of doing the job, you would still have the same feeling when turning out to a job."

During his three decades of service, Keith has attended many jobs including the IRA Manchester bombing.

When off-duty he saved the life of his best friend who suffered a heart attack during a meal out.

Some of the many jobs he has been on stay with him.

Keith said: "The hardest job, which I still think of on and off, was on Christmas day one year.

"A family were travelling on Christmas day when the car hit a lamppost on the motorway and there were three fatalities.

"The thought of those people trying to get home for Christmas and their family sat home waiting."

He said the support and the camaraderie of the watch is crucial when faced with such tragedies.

"For 48 hours a week we are all together we eat we work we rest, so it is family," said Keith, who said the biggest fire he attended was a factory fire in Little Lever in 1993.

And he has also had some unusual jobs too.

"We had the usual birds in chimneys, children with toilet seats stuck on their head, and usual people with rings on things, not just fingers," said Keith.

Covid-19 has meant retirement celebrations have to be put on hold, such as Keith and his wife visiting their son in Australia ­— and a night out with the watch will have to wait until lockdown restrictions are lifted.

And Keith doesn't have plans to put his feet up just yet, he is already thinking about his next move in the world of work ­— albeit part time.

"I may be 60, but I'm not old and not ready to stay at home 27/7," he said.

Watch Manager Steve Wilcock said: "When Keith turned out for the last time he was the oldest operational firefighter.

"I have worked with him for more than 15 years and he has become a friend.

"He came to the service having trained as a mechanic, those skills helped us when we went to incidents involving machinery.

"He is a trusted and valued member of the team, who is extremely popular in the service, not just the watch."

Watch manager Wilcock added: "I am going to miss him on the watch but wish him a well deserved and happy retirement."