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LOCAL firefighter Adrian Petty has received a Long Service and Good Conduct medal at a special ceremony in Salisbury.
Adrian was one of 16 to receive the medal which are awarded by Royal Warrant on behalf of the Queen for ‘exemplary fire service’.
Adrian has lived in Melksham his whole life and joined the fire and rescue service 20 years ago, when he worked for Avon Rubber. At that time, Avon Rubber had its own fire crew which sat within Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service.
Adrian left the company in 2000 and transferred to Melksham Fire Station, where he has been since. He juggles his commitments as a firefighter with his job as a self-employed kitchen and bathroom fitter, and his family life with wife Emma and daughters Olivia and Cerys.
Adrian said, “After 20 years of being in the service, it is nice to be recognised but that isn’t why I do it. It’s my job and I’m there to serve the community and save lives.
“Over the years training has developed and techniques have changed, but our main goals and objectives have remained the same. The public rely on us to keep them safe and sort out situations and that is what we are there for.
“The ceremony itself was very nice but not something I’m used to. However, it was nice to take my wife and children with me to give them an insight into what it’s all about.
“Part of what keeps me doing it is definitely the comradeship of the fire service. I usually work on my own but then on a Monday when we are at training and then on call, all the lads are together. If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t see anyone! It’s definitely a full-time commitment and can impact on family life. I’m very thankful to my family for all their support and understanding. There are often times when plans have had to change or cancel because I have to go out on a shout, but they understand. I’m a very laid back person and I just get on with what I have to do. I hope to be able to do it for a few more years at least.”
Whilst those who have served the fire service for over 20 years are recognised, they are not automatically given the medal, they must be personally recommended by the Chief Fire Officer.
Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter said, “The annual medals ceremony is always a special occasion, but this year is particularly special as it’s the first for our new combined Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“As well as the recipients of our Long Service and Good Conduct medals, the evening is an opportunity to celebrate success across the organisation, from commendations to professional qualifications, so it is a time for us all to feel very proud.”