The man responsible for kitting out firefighters and staff has hung up his boots – after 43 years of service to his community.
Dave Metcalf paid an emotional farewell to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) last Friday as he retired from the job he loves.
The 61-year-old joined the Service back in 1979 and has spent his life kitting out the firefighters of Tyne and Wear.
He provided all staff with their uniform but also ensured each appliance was fitted with the kit needed to keep the community safe.
It means he has met just about every single person to have joined the organisation since he started the role.
Handing out an estimated 10 uniforms a week – it means he has dished out 22,360 uniforms in his 43 years!
Working as Technical Service Assistant at TWFRS’s Technical Service Centre (TSC) in Gateshead, he has seen eight different Chief Fire Officers walk through his doors.
Dave says the biggest observation he has made is the advancements in the technology that keeps firefighters safe. The father-of-two said: ‘It’s much safer now, the equipment is much more high tech and there is so much more kit now then there was when I first started.
‘I really enjoy the job, I’ve worked with some good people and that’s why I’ve stuck around for so long, I would recommend a career in the Fire Service to anyone.
‘But I’m ready to retire, life is too short I’ve worked my days and I want to enjoy some holiday time and spend time with my family and friends.’
Dave added: ‘One of my most recent favourite memories was sending help to the people of Ukraine, it was a real effort from everyone over here in TSC.
‘We must have got about 12 pallets of equipment together to help them out a bit in their time of need.’
From the West End of Newcastle, Dave is still sporty even in his sixties, and he completes the 12-mile round trip to work on his bicycle every day.
He regularly plays five-a-side with his friends and has been a key member of TWFRS’s Sports and Welfare club throughout his service.
Dave added: ‘I think I’ll still join some sports groups when I retire, to help maintain my friendships and fitness with the folks that I have met.
‘But no doubt my wife, Gail, will have a number of things for me to do, chores around the house and walking our two dogs.’
On his retirement day, TWFRS’s highest ranking firefighter bid farewell to Dave and thanked him for his hard work.
Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: ‘I want to thank Dave for his years with us, he has been a staple of our fire service for over four decades.
‘He is a friendly face and will be missed greatly by everyone across the Service, but I know he has passed on his wealth knowledge to the next generation.
‘We’ve had an influx of new recruits in the last few years and I know they’ve been welcomed into the Service with open arms by people like Dave and it makes me so proud to work here.’
TWFRS are currently recruiting for firefighters, crew managers and watch manager with experience to join the service continuing their largest recruitment drive in recent years.
Pre-registration for whole-time firefighters is also open ahead of a recruitment campaign expected to take place at the end of the year.
Details for both can be found on TWFRS website.