A FIREFIGHTER who has continued to protect East Lothian despite moving out of the county has been recognised for two decades of service.

Frank Fairgrieve moved to Fife three years ago but has remained part of the retained crew in Haddington.

The dad-of-two has refused to hang up his uniform just yet, despite reaching 21 years of service.

He said: “I’ll stay unless they can get personnel who want to come in and to give it more commitment.

“I’ve done long enough and thought when I moved to Fife that I would have to give it up but they need me to do it for a period of time and I am happy enough to do that.”

Frank may have moved to Fife but his work is just 100 yards or so from the fire station on Haddington’s Court Street.

He works in the building standards department of East Lothian Council’s John Muir House and has his pager with him at all times just in case he is called out.

Frank, who previously lived on Haddington’s Station Avenue and Market Street, said: “I had always had an ambition to join the fire service and did try a couple of times to join the whole-time team after I served my time as a draftsman and got a trade but it was not to be.

“In those days you had a couple of thousand people going for 10 places and it was really difficult.

“I had never really given the retained side of things a thought. I started working with the council and one of the guys was a local builder and I just found out about it through that.

“It piqued my interest and I thought I could probably do that as well as my own work with the council.”

After receiving permission from various bosses, Frank started his new role with the fire service on December 17, 1996. . . and immediately went on holiday.

He said: “On December 18 I went away on a six-week holiday. It was around the world and we had about six stops – I was not changing that!”

Fast-forward more than two decades and Frank was joined by colleagues and senior Scottish Fire and Rescue Service officials at Haddington Fire Station.

He was presented with a certificate which recognised his “long service and good conduct”.

A medal, from the Royal Mint, was also presented to highlight his service with the emergency service.

Since joining 21 years ago, the crew manager admits a lot has changed with the firefighter’s role.

He said: “It is not just about fighting fires.

“It’s road accidents, it’s flooding, it’s chemical incidents, terrorism.

“There is more training for things involving that and also the prevention side and home visits, community safety.

“It has become quite a different thing – it is not just about putting water on a fire.”