Friends clock up 80 years service between them at Burwell fire station

Martin Claydon, 61, and Philip Hubbard, 59, were presented with a framed certificate and glass flame

Martin Claydon, 61, and Philip Hubbard, 59, were presented with a framed certificate and glass flame award, in front of the whole crew by Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland at their station in Burwell. - Credit: Archant

Two school friends have celebrated 40 years of on-call fire fighting after both joining the Burwell fire station in 1976.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue crew Martin Claydon, 61, and Philip Hubbard, 59, were presented with framed certificates and glass flame award.

Martin said: “It has been great to be celebrated for serving as a firefighter. What has made it extra special is being able to celebrate with the whole crew.

“Twelve of us started at the same time but Philip and I are the only two of the original twelve left.”

As well as working together, Martin, from Burwell, and Philip, from Swaffham Prior, also went to the same school.

Philip said: “Martin and I did knock about together at school and also worked together, so I know him very well and he has been a good ally over the years.”

The pair were presented with their long service awards in front of the whole crew, by chief fire officer Chris Strickland at their station in Burwell.

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Martin and Philip joined in 1976 - the year of the drought - when Burwell Fire Station first opened.

Along with ten other on-call firefighters, they were recruited at the same time from a local factory that made cardboard boxes.

Father-of-two Martin, who owns his own car hire company, wanted to join the service because it was different.

“I worked in an office at the time and was looking for a bit of adrenaline. I also liked the fact it was quite random as sometimes there’d be nothing, other times you’d be really busy.

Philip, who also has two children, said he has some very special memories of the fire service because of how supportive colleagues were when his youngest daughter was ill seven years ago.

Then aged 11, she had a condition called Aplasia, which meant she needed a bone marrow transplant.

“There were firefighters turning up all over the county to take a blood test to see if they were compatible. I was allowed three months off so I could visit my daughter in hospital after her transplant. Everyone was really supportive.”

Chief fire officer Chris Strickland said: “Serving for 40 years is such an achievement. To have two members of staff from the same station is extra special.

“Being an on-call firefighter requires a lot of commitment, from both staff and their families. I want to thank both Martin and Philip, and their families for their amazing support over the years.”

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