A FIREFIGHTER retiring after 29 years of service said he would do it “all over again” as he says goodbye to Whitchurch Fire Station.

Kevin Price is leaving his post as watch manager “in good hands” and with fond memories as the crew surprised him with a presentation evening on his final shift on Wednesday last week.

Kevin was joined by wife Frances and daughters Joanne and Sarah when he was presented with gifts in recognition of the Daniel Road resident’s dedication to the service.

The 61-year-old said: “I just absolutely love it, I don’t know what I will do. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people in this job [that] I wouldn’t think I would have met in other jobs.

“I won’t miss them [the crew] because I’ll still be in touch. I’ll just remember everything, I really will, I have had some really good times.”

Thinking back through his near three decades at the station, Kevin remembers thinking his first call-out was a joke, when the crew went out to rescue a parrot stuck up a tree after it escaped from a family home.

The father-of-two joined Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service as a latecomer as he entered his 30s, meaning he could only work part-time alongside his other job as a machine operator at All Bright Engineers, and later Overton Paper Mill.

But alongside the fun and games Kevin reflected on the serious moments in the job, with big fires such as one in Tangley which killed Conservative MP Michael Colvin and his wife Nicola.

On Kevin’s last night working at Whitchurch Fire Station, members of the team were called out to the scene of the Ocado warehouse fire on Walworth Business Park.

Kevin added: “The reward is when you rescue people and you get a phone call, and they are OK.

“I would like to thank all members past and present all for the wonderful times and support and just hope the station continues for many years.

“I’m leaving it in good hands.”

Kevin is having a full leaving do with all the crew at the town’s football club at the end of next month. While retiring from the front lines, he hopes to move to a position at the fire service’s headquarters.