A FAMILIAR face who is one of the mainstays of Allendale’s fire service has had his final call-out after 39 years.

People in the Allendale area will have seen Neville Pringle attending everything from house fires to road traffic collisions since he joined Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service as a retained firefighter on March 25,1980.

And Neville, who is a well-known figure in the community as he is also general manager at Allendale Co-op, was recognised in a presentation at Allendale Fire Station last week after he stepped down into retirement from the fire service.

“I have found it’s been great to be able to serve the community for the past 39 years as a firefighter,” he said. “I have found it very rewarding. When you’re called out on a fire call you never know from when the pager goes off what it’s going to be. It could be a road traffic collision, a house fire, alarms, flooding or a wildfire.

“It’s quite strange because I work in the co-op too. One minute I could be attending to one of the customers in the shop and then later that day I could be called out to that person’s property. There’s always that chance you could be turning up with a different hat on.”

Neville praised his family, for putting up with several meal times being interrupted when his pager went off, and the rest of the team at Allendale for helping him to enjoy his work so much.

“Between me and Nigel Baynes, who have each done 39 years, and Michael Fairless, who has done 40 years, we have nearly 120 years between us which is a bit of a running joke,” he said. “It’s a bit scary – it makes me feel quite old.

“It has been great comradeship; I am going to miss it. We have always had a special bond at Allendale. I think that comes from when you go into a burning building you need to know that the ones outside are looking out for you – I think that builds up a special working relationship.”

Neville was presented with a plaque from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service in recognition of his dedication to the role, as well as a glass firefighter figurine from the rest of the team at Allendale.

“Luckily I will still be seeing a lot of them when they come into the shop,” he said. “I will still be working at the co-op, but it will just be a bit of an easier life not worrying if the pager is going to go off at any moment!”