A lifesaver is planning to take to the high road in a campervan, rather than a fire engine, after calling time on his firefighting career stretching back almost three decades.
Stewart Beattie, 50, has retired as a firefighter with the red watch at Hawick fire station following 27 years’ service, and he now plans to spend more time with his fiancée Shirley and son Harris, 11.
He’s also planning to buy a campervan so he and his family can take touring holidays around the rest of Scotland, defying the saying that a day out of hawick is a day wasted.
Stewart admits he will miss the camaraderie he enjoyed with his colleagues at the Howdenbank station but said it had been a “privilege to serve the people of Hawick”.
As he looks back on his firefighting career, two incidents in particular stand out, he says – the day Weensland Mill in Hawick was destroyed by fire in 1999 and last year when he helped save the life of a man after he suffered a cardiac arrest west of Braid Road in Hawick.
He was called out to the latter incident as part of a lifesaving scheme that sees firefighters sent to emergency calls when ambulance crews are busy elsewhere.
Stewart said: “There was no ambulance available, and red watch was called out and gave the man cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
“We stabilised him, and he was taken to hospital and, thankfully, later he was as right as rain.
“Helping to save someone’s life is so satisfying and rewarding.
“The fire at Weensland Mill also stands out because it was so huge. The building just collapsed to the ground.
“I’m going to miss all the craik and banter with the boys, but I’m planning to buy a campervan and take it touring around Scotland.
“After 27 years, it’s time to hand in my tally and go off the run. It’s been a privilege to serve the people of Hawick.
“To everyone I’ve worked with in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, thanks for the memories.”