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Billingborough Fire Station’s crew manager retires as renewed plea made for new firefighters

A firefighter, who first volunteered to keep a village station open and respond to emergencies, is urging others to do the same as he steps back due to ill health.

Shane Taylor first put his name down to join the team of on-call firefighters at Billingborough Fire Station in April 2004 at the age of 26.

There were low crew numbers at the station and Shane was keen to serve his community.

Shane Taylor is recognised for his service
Shane Taylor is recognised for his service

“It is a fantastic job and more people should do it,” the 46-year-old said.

“The camaraderie and teamwork is fantastic.”

Just five years later, he took on the job of station manager as ‘someone needed to step up’ and Shane felt he had the respect of the rest of the crew.

Being part of a community-based fire station has meant responding to calls from people he knows.

Shane recalls the most frightening job he attended being at a neighbour’s house across the road.

“They had put ashes outside but it set fire to the shed and caravan before spreading to the house,” said Shane.

He added: “You are part of the community. Everyone knows everyone.”

Typically the Billingborough crew is called out two to three times a week to a mixture of fires, crashes and medical incidents.

Each week the crew also has a two-and-a-half hour training session at the station where they practice how they would respond to incidents.

Naturally, spending so much time together has forged close friendships.

“It is like a family to be honest - a little fire family,” said Shane.

Shane is sad to be leaving, but after finding out he had a brain tumour in 2020 after seeking medical help following a nine-week headache, decided now is the right time.

Since his diagnosis he has had four operations and treatment, which has shrunk the tumour to just the sack.

Shane is handing over the crew manager role to Harvey Chessum, who he is confident will fill his shoes.

Following Shane’s retirement and two further crew members leaving the service Billingborough Fire Station now only has three firefighters, which may restrict the incidents they can respond to. Four firefighters are needed to run the pump.

In previous years, fire stations had a waiting list of people wanting to get on the rung but this is no longer the case - possibly due to the pressures of work commitments and modern living.

Like many rural fire stations in the county, Billingborough Fire Station has been running a recruitment campaign to help attract new retained officers to protect the area’s residents and properties.

To find out more about being a firefighter visit: https://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/LFR.

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