Watton firefighter Mick Jolly celebrates retirement after nearly 47 years of serving the community
For 46 years and eight months Mick Jolly showed dedication and commitment to his role as a retained firefighter.
The 68-year-old from Watton is one of the longest serving firefighters in Norfolk’s history and one of the few to have reached such a milestone nationally.
But after years of attending a range of emergencies and incidents, which sometimes meant rushing off during time with his family, he decided to hang up his helmet and uniform for good.
Mr Jolly joined Norfolk Fire Service at Watton station in 1970 as a 22-year-old while working as a mechanic.
“The officer in charge [of the fire station] used to work at the garage,” he said. “He more or less persuaded me to join and I never looked back really.”
During the former crew manager’s more than 4,000 call outs, he was involved in a number of high profile incidents including the fire at Thetford’s D&L Plastics.
“There have been great times as well as sad times,” he said. “I think the biggest thing that keeps you going is the comradeship with the other crew members. You make a lot of friends.”
One of father-of-two and grandfather-of-four’s fondest memories was helping to raise money for new hydraulic cutting equipment to use at traffic accidents - which was named Project 90.
He needed to raise £6,000 to buy the equipment but through various fundraising activities and help from colleagues, their families and residents, more than £12,000 was raised.
The equipment was bought and money was also given to various charities in the town.
Mr Jolly, who also worked at HMP Wayland for nearly 20 years, said: “I was extremely proud because it was the people of Watton and the villages who supported us. We raised way over what we needed.”
To celebrate his retirement, which he took in July, a surprise party was organised by Mr Jolly’s family on October 7 which was attended by 150 people.
Mr Jolly, whose son Wayne followed in his footsteps and has been a retained firefighter at the station since 2009, added: “When I first joined I did not think I would be in for that long. I liked being able to help people in trouble.”
He added: “My wife and children put up with a lot.”
Mr Jolly said he is now looking forward to taking holidays in his caravan with his wife.
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