A NUMBER of firefighters completed their final drill at Welshpool Fire Station and were honoured for their many years of exceptional service.

Graham Roberts is retiring after 38 years, Dave Challinor after 40 years and Roy Greatorex after 39 years.

Steve ‘Billy’ Barrett is also leaving the service after 12 years to start a new career with the West Mercia Police.

Dave and Graham received awards from the town’s mayor, Stephen Kaye, for their ‘years of exceptional service’.

Mayor Steve Kaye, whose father was a firefighter, said: “It was quite emotional because they have been there since my dad was there.

“They can remember him.”

Welshpool Town Council wanted to do something to commemorate their service to the town, and with their brave actions being part of their everyday job, and not volunteer work, there was only one way for them to be awarded: with an accolade from the mayor himself.

Councillor Kaye said the awards are to say “thank you very much from the council and the town’s people for all the lives they have saved.”

“They will all be missed,” Cllr Kaye said.

The Mayor’s Awards are not given out very often. In fact, Cllr Kaye believes only around five have been given out in the last 20 to 30 years.

The men were thankful for the awards they received from the mayor.

“They appreciated it, I know they did,” said Cllr Kaye.

Cllr Kaye said that people in the town know the sacrifices the local firefighters make for Welshpool. “They are well thought of,” he said.

However, the mayor is more familiar than most with what the job consists of, and that the job consists of far more than fires.

Firefighters respond to a wide variety of calls, such as car crashes, chemical spills, flooding, water rescue and general rescue.

Cllr Kaye said: “They go far beyond what people think they do.”

On Twitter, Welshpool Fire Station said “many thanks for your services to the community” to Dave and Graham, the retired firefighters to receive awards.

The station also made a post on the social media website about Steve “Billy” Barratt, who is swapping the fire service for the police.

The Tweet said: “We wish him well in his new career with West Mercia Police, thank you for your service and commitment to the community of Welshpool.”

Roy Greatorex was not in attendance of the final drill and so is yet to receive a Mayor’s Award certificate for his 39 years of service at the Powys Fire Station.

Also in attendance at the event were Officer in Charge Brendan McWhinnie, Powys Nothern Area Commander Rob Rayner and Welshpool Town Clerk Robert Robinson.