Leiston: County’s longest serving retained firefighter recognised

John Last has been a retained firefighter at Leiston fire station for 40 years. He is now officer in

John Last has been a retained firefighter at Leiston fire station for 40 years. He is now officer in charge. COLLECT

Suffolk’s longest serving retained firefighter has clocked up 40 years of responding to emergencies.

John Last has been a retained firefighter at Leiston fire station for 40 years. He is now officer in

John Last has been a retained firefighter at Leiston fire station for 40 years. He is now officer in charge.

John Last, officer in charge at Leiston station, was awarded with a certificate in recognition of his achievement.

The 59-year-old’s first day was on the job August 1, 1973. He responded to his first incident towards the end of that month, and has since answered thousands of emergency calls locally and further afield when required.

Mr Last, whose father was also a long-serving retained firefighter, said: “I’ve always found satisfaction in serving the community. It’s not always nice – some things end in tragedy, loss of life and property. “When you think you’ve seen it all, there’s always a new challenge thrown your way.

“I’ve enjoyed working with and training younger people. It’s about companionship and camaraderie.”


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Mr Last’s employment was at Sizewell A, where he was also a fire safety officer for the last years of career, before taking early retirement.

The Leiston crew meet once a week for training. Mr Last has other duties as officer in charge, as well as responding to emergency calls.

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He was in attendance at Center Parcs in April 2002, when the central plaza and sports centre at Elveden Forest was destroyed by fire, and at the Lowestoft Hippodrome when it burned down in 1999.

In fact, Mr Last’s interview with The EADT was interrupted by an emergency call - and he has no thoughts of retiring just yet.

“I’ll review it every six months, but won’t look too far into the future,” he said.

“None of this would have been possible without my good lady wife Sue and my family. I’ve had the privilege of working with lots of wonderful people.

“I would have to recommend becoming a retained firefighter – seeing as I’m still going strong after 40 years.

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