Surprise party for retained firefighter who has clocked up 30 years’ service

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A surprise party was held this week for a Clitheroe firefighter who has clocked up 30 years of service.

Colleagues of Clitheroe Fire Station watch manager Dave McGrath secretly organised a celebration at the Swan and Royal Hotel, Castle Street, Clitheroe, on Monday evening.

During the party they presented Dave with an engraved bronze figurine of a firefighter
and vouchers for a meal out with his family.

He was also presented with a “This is Your Life”-style red book and was treated to a 
PowerPoint presentation on a big screen.

One of the highlights of the evening was a recorded message from Dave’s daughter, Army medic Private Kerry McGrath, who has just been deployed to Kenya.

Dave, who works at Johnson Matthey in Clitheroe, joined Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service on October 16th, 1984. He was promoted to the role of station officer, which means he has overall control of the fire station, on July, 1995. His current role is that of watch manager.

Alongside Dave’s family and friends, former firefighters who he has worked with plus managers and colleagues from other fire stations were at the party, as were members of the other services, including the police and ambulance, he has worked with through the years in.

During his 30-year career with the Fire Service, Dave has attended many major
 incidents, including a huge fire which broke out at the historic Swan and Royal Hotel in September 2009. And the owners of the hotel, Terry and Carol Joy, were only too happy to host the surprise party in the hotel’s function room

Friends and colleagues from Johnson Matthey were also at the party to congratulate Dave on his achievement.

Dave’s four children, daughters Kerry and Chloe and sons David and Paul, all managed to keep tight lipped about the surprise, as did Dave’s wife, Cathy. Dave was transported to the party under false pretences and remained totally in the dark until he entered the building.

Clitheroe Fire Station crew manager Jim Patrick said Dave’s commitment to the Fire Service was remarkable.

“Thirty years is generally the length of the career of a whole time firefighter,as opposed to Dave who is a retained firefighter,” explained Jim.

“Dave has been mobilised to thousands of emergency incidents, possibly even 10,000, with the majority being located in Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley.”

He paid tribute to the support shown by Dave’s family and Johnson Matthey.