A fireman recently celebrated 40 years of service at Biggleswade Fire Station.
Eddie Wing, 56, has been the Watch Commander of the station for the past 20 years, in what has been a successful career.
He has tackled blazes all over the area including the Bedford School fire of 1979 and the 2002 Yarl’s Wood fire.
When asked what the highlight of his job was, Eddie said: “The feeling of help you give to people and to help reassure them when they have been through a very tough time.
“We provide them with some comfort and support and that’s what makes you want to carry on.”
Eddie cherishes the people he works alongside and believes the teamwork aspect of the job is critical.
“We have a good and loyal team which I have had the privilege of being in charge of for the past 20 years,” he explained.
“Without them there would not be a good and reliable service in Biggleswade and the surrounding area.”
Eddie, who is known around the station as Watch Commander Wing, has his sister to thank for entering the profession.
She was doing her girl guides fire safety badge and recommended the service to Eddie. He went along to the station to have a look, and the rest as they say, was history.
Eddie admits the thing he most dislikes about the job is the lack of sleep.
He said: “After the adrenaline rush of a fire it is hard to get back to sleep.
“In the winter this becomes even worse as you’re not only wide awake but you’re freezing cold as well.”
Along the way, Eddie has made many friends in the force. One of them, Lee Stoeri, said: “Eddie turns out at all hours of the day and night to protect our community and surrounding villages, this is a commendable achievement.”
One of the differences Eddie has had to come to terms with is the amount that has changed and developed over the last 40 years.
When he started he had to clean all of the brass equipment and haul the hose up the drill tower to be dried preventing the canvas from rotting.
Nowadays there is no brass as things are aluminium, and the fire service simply wind up the hose until it is required for use again. These advances have impressed Eddie.
“The equipment that we carry is the best in the country,” he said.
“Not only do we provide a very good service but we are also trained in water rescue, working at height and at road traffic accidents.”
Eddie hopes to serve for four more years before retiring from the fire service aged 60.