FIREFIGHTER John Naylor is retiring after 30 years but it hasn’t extinguished his love of the job.

“I’m sad to be leaving because I’ve really enjoyed serving the community," he said.

Sheffield-born Mr Naylor, 55, joined Greater Manchester Fire Service in 1989 and apart from a probationary period at Manchester Central Fire Station, he has been based at Farnworth Station since 1992.

“I joined the service because I thought it would be exciting and a good thing to do, and it has been,” said father-of-three Mr Naylor, of Darcy Lever.

During his three decades in the service, Mr Naylor has been involved in everything from the Strangeways riots to rescuing horses.

“A change that I’ve noticed over the years is that we do a lot more prevention work now, rather than just tackling fires when they happen,”he said.

Mr Naylor appeared in the then Bolton Evening news in 2012 when he helped free a kitten that had accidentally got locked in a safe!Using a special metal saw,and a hydraulic spreader, usually used to free people trapped in vehicles, he successfully freed Misty.

Paying tribute, colleague Darren Thornley, said: “John is the ultimate professional.

“We have been into all kinds of jobs together – floodings, gas explosions and countless house fires.

“A lot of people go off on a promotion trail but John took the decision to stay as a firefighter and he has worked at his local station serving the local community for 30 years.”

Mr Thornley added: “He has been absolutely amazing. He is a credit to the team. He is going to be a loss, without a shadow of a doubt, particularly for his depth of knowledge of the fire brigade and the procedures we go through. He will sorely missed.”

Mr Naylor’s last shift in on Thursday and as well as a farewell party that evening, a bigger one is being planned for next month.

“I’m hoping to take some time out and do a lot of cycling,” he said.

“The thing I’m most going to miss is that extra-special feeling when you know you’ve helped save somebody’s life.

“On a personal level I’ve made a lot of very good friends in the job and I know I’m going to miss the fun and the camaraderie.”