On-call firefighter retires after 35 years but son and nephew continue serving as family tradition

It was a family tradition to become a firefighter, and now after 35 years on-call, Trevor Matthews is putting away his boots.

Trevor Matthews is retiring after 35 years as a firefighter. With him kneeling is his son, Liam Matthews, then L-R: Thomas Ordidge, Christian Frain, Charlie Cartwright, Craig Hartland, Rachel Freeman, Dan Thomas and Jon Pullen
Trevor Matthews is retiring after 35 years as a firefighter. With him kneeling is his son, Liam Matthews, then L-R: Thomas Ordidge, Christian Frain, Charlie Cartwright, Craig Hartland, Rachel Freeman, Dan Thomas and Jon Pullen

The 59 year-old from Newport is retiring from his role at the town's fire station at a special ceremony tonight.

A firefighter of 35 years, Trevor said joining the station's crews is a bit of a "Matthews tradition", with his three brothers having served, while his nephew and son still serve now.

Between them, they have dedicated 96 years of service to the fire station.

Trevor Matthews is is retiring after 35 years as a firefighter. With him is Liam Matthews, Thomas Ordidge, Christian Frain, Charlie Cartwright, Craig Hartland, Rachel Freeman, Dan Thomas and Jon Pullen

"It's a long time to be honest," he said. "But I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

"If anything it all started from a big family history as I have brothers who have been in the fire service. It's a bit of a Matthews tradition.

"We go back a long way with the Newport Fire Station, and I served alongside my brothers, as well as my nephew and my son.

"Three brothers are now retired from the service, but my nephew, Adam, and my son, Liam, are still currently serving."

Trevor said it was the camaraderie and the social aspect of being an on-call firefighter that kept him going, despite the long nights and early mornings on occasion.

Trevor while out on duty as an on-call firefighter

"It's also doing your bit for the community," he said. "It's just a good feeling. Obviously there was the early starts, which were sometimes horrendous, or going out in the middle of the night.

"That was a difficult element for me, because I am self employed with my own carpentry business. So I'd be up half the night on a job, and then have to go to work the next morning.

"Another thing that was hard to accept sometimes was we would go to incidents where you may know some of the people involved. One of my school friends, we lost his son in a car accident, and that was tough.

"But I do also have good memories, and the appreciation from local people is nice. It's always going to have difficult times.

Trevor Matthews is is retiring after 35 years as a firefighter. With him is Liam Matthews, Thomas Ordidge, Christian Frain, Charlie Cartwright, Craig Hartland, Rachel Freeman, Dan Thomas and Jon Pullen

"But I have made lots of friends I will keep in touch with, and we have fantastic training facilities here in Shropshire, and that's great."

Trevor said some of the big jobs he remembers over the years include the depot fires in the 80s, Cox's chemicals in Wellington, when the Wrekin was on fire for three weeks – "that was a nightmare," he said.

Charlie Cartwright, watch manager at Newport Fire Station, said: "Trevor started at Newport on the 12th November 1987 at the sprightly young age of 24. It has been a part of the Matthews DNA to serve in the fire service.

"Trevor has been a pivotal part of the team here at Newport over the years and his knowledge and professionalism will be missed by us all."

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