A FIREFIGHTER who has served most of his career in Bolton and Bury has retired after 30 years.

Carl Bostock enjoyed a last shift reflecting on three decades of tackling blazes and saving lives over a takeaway meal with colleagues during his last shift on Wednesday evening. (Apr 27)

The 52-year-old, who had been crew manager at Bury Fire Station for the last 14 years, was previously based at Bolton Central, Farnworth and Bolton North Fire Stations.

He said: "I'm not quite sure how you're meant to feel.

"I just know I have done 30 years and have had enough, in a sense.

"I joined up in 1986. It seems a long time ago now.

"I'm looking forward to my time off and I know my wife certainly is.

"I have worked the last seven Christmas Days and many weekends.

"My wife is relieved that now if we have a wedding or christening we will actually be able to say: I can do that."

Mr Bostock represented Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue service at football and has run in his employer's colours at the fire service national games when he won a handful of bronze medals.

The keen kayaker is looking forward to paddling down rivers and canals much more often than his full-time firefighting shifts allowed.

Mr Bostock, of Bury, who has two grown-up daughters, has seen his fair share of danger and heroism.

He said: "I'll miss the fires: I like turning out and doing what you have got to do.

"Not everyone has a job they enjoy but I have enjoyed it every year.

"I've always looked forward to coming work.

"I'll miss the guys and the adrenaline rush."

A few incidents stand out in his mind alongside a huge chemical factory blaze in Skelmersdale involving 150 firefighters.

He said: "Early on in my career I was involved in the Strangeways riots. Going in there was quite frightening.

"We had to be escorted by police with their plastic riot shields and the bricks were raining down.

"It was intimidating and I was still quite young then and had only been in the force for four or five years.

"We also saved two girls from a house fire off Halliwell Road about 15 years ago.

"Both girls were unconscious when we found them, and we took them outside, gave them CPR and they came round.

"That was a very emotional time."

Mr Bostock was an apprentice electrician in Farnworth before he joined the fire service and has been offered a part-time job as an electrician with a local firm.