A retained firefighter who raced to protect the public more than 9,000 times throughout an astonishing 45 year career was last night honoured by Scotland’s Chief Fire Officer.
Former Watch Manager, Jim Moar – one of Scotland’s longest serving firefighters – hung up his uniform at Lerwick Community Fire Station for the final time on 29 November.
And he was stunned when Chief Officer, Alasdair Hay, made an unexpected appearance at his retirement bash held on the major Scottish island at the weekend.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Hay said: “Jim embodies all the qualities of a retained firefighter and I congratulate him on his exemplary conduct over a 45-year career.
“In that time, he has assisted countless families and has been an outstanding public servant.”
Jim’s former colleagues also attended the surprise get together on Saturday, 25 February.
They were told how the veteran firefighter is estimated to have attended the huge number of incidents, including the Queen’s Hotel fire in 1983.
In 2007, the 63-year-old was presented with an MBE for his contribution to the fire service.
The Chief Officer presented Jim with his retirement certificate, a figurine and a fireman’s axe at the event held within the town’s Sound Hall.
In addition, his former colleagues clubbed together to buy him and his wife, both country music fans, a holiday to Nashville.
Chief Officer Hay continued: “The fire service has undergone enormous change since Jim joined in the 1970’s.
“In the years that followed, the role of a firefighter also underwent a dramatic transformation in order to meet the needs of our communities.
“But Jim continued to stand on the front line throughout, with that unwavering commitment so very typical of our firefighters and I thank him for his loyalty.
“His example should stand as inspiration to the colleagues he leaves behind as well as to future generations of firefighters.”
Jim, who is a father-of-nine and grandfather-of-25, joined Northern Area Fire Brigade as a retained firefighter on 1 October 1971 when he was just 18 before rising to the position Watch Manager.
In the last five years he has worked alongside Group Manager Myles Murray who spoke fondly of his former colleague.
He said: “Jim’s contribution to the safety of the community is immeasurable and it’s fitting he has been recognised with this special event.
“Jim has been a tremendous ambassador not only for Lerwick Community Fire Station but for the whole of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
“It’s also testament to his character that so many of his former colleagues wanted to come together to wish him well.”
Chief Officer Hay had earlier met with fire station personnel at Sumburgh Fire Station and also retained crews at Bixter and Walls.
MSP for the Shetland Islands, Tavish Scott said: “Jim’s 45-year contribution to Shetland’s fire service is unlikely to be matched and was rightly rewarded with an MBE.
“It is great to see his efforts recognised by fire service colleagues and I hope that Jim is enjoying his well-earned retirement.”
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is encouraging more men and women to sign up to become a retained firefighters.
The RDS (Retained Duty System) consists of part time firefighters who provide a vital service to the communities in which they live and work.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a an RDS firefighter within your local community and having the opportunity to continually develop then visit www.firescotland.gov.uk