FIREFIGHTERS are preparing to say goodbye to Deputy Chief Fire Officer John Hindmarch after 36 years of service.
The 55-year-old SAFC fan will step down on July 19, having joined as a firefighter in 1977.
Sunderland-born John progressed through the service to become the second-highest ranking fire chief in 2008.
He led the move to the service’s current control room and mobilising systems in West Denton, Newcastle.
Now his final project will be to oversee the successor to the mobilising system and the relocation of the control room to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s headquarters in Washington.
“It has been an absolute pleasure working for the service,” said John, from Washington.
I’ve had a fantastic career and enjoyed every single day. However, I decided some time ago I did not want to become a Chief Fire Officer.
“Its now time to start a new chapter of my life, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family.
“There is no doubt I will miss the people the most.
“However, I know the service is in very capable hands.”
Chief Fire Officer Tom Capeling said: “John will be a huge miss to the service. The service has benefitted greatly from his wealth of knowledge, expertise and skills.
“There is no doubt that John has made a huge difference to the service, especially in equality and diversity, and ensuring this is a great place to work.
“I would like to wish him all the best for the future.”
John has been praised for his work promoting equality and diversity throughout the service, and has been in charge of a number of high-profile incidents, including the fire at Distillex in North Tyneside in 2002.
Coun Tom Wright, chairman of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, also paid tribute.
He said: “He has made a lasting impression on the service. We will definitely miss him and would like to wish him a long and happy retirement.”