Home   News   Article

Sid brings curtain down on 16-year firefighting career

By Alan Beresford

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Have a look at our digital subscription packages!

FOCHABERS fire station has bidden a fond farewell to one of its long-serving firefighters.

Fochabers firefighter Sid Whyte has called it a day after 16 years as a retained firefighter. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Fochabers firefighter Sid Whyte has called it a day after 16 years as a retained firefighter. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

Sid Whyte brought down the curtain on 16 years of service when he retired from his post as a retained firefighter.

Helping others was a major factor in Mr Whyte, who works for a local undertaker, taking the plunge to join the fire service over a decade and a half ago.

He said: "I didn't have any previous connection to the fire service, I just wanted to help the community and give something back.

"I actually started off at Rothes fire station as I was working there at the time but transferred to Fochabers when my work change. I've also served with Keith fire station during the day when my work took me there.

"I've really enjoyed it. I enjoyed working with the crew here at Fochabers, who are like a big family, and working with the crews from other stations, too.

"It's been great helping the community, not just with fire fighting and rescues but doing things like home safety visits to make sure householders have the proper alarms in their homes to help keep them safe.

"The fund-raising we did to buy life-rings to put along the banks of the River Spey was good. It was very satisfying seeing the community support our fund-raising for this and the life-rings have made a difference. "

With 16 years under his belt, Mr Whyte has witnessed many changes in the world of firefighting.

"There's a quite a lot of training now which you have to keep up with," he continued.

"It's good to see new recruits coming in and I really enjoyed showing them the ropes.

"Technology is another thing which as changed a lot – when I joined we didn't have computers in the fire station.

"Like any job it's changed over the years."

Mr Whyte has many memories to take with him into retirement but one in particular sticks with him.

"It was a Sunday afternoon and we were fighting a car fire up at the Christie's roundabout.

"I was asked to get the tool box but when I grabbed it opened and all the tools fell out right there in front of everybody. I learned a valuable lesson that day – always check the toolbox is properly closed before you grab it.

"Needless to say I got some fun made of me afterwards!"

Now that he has left his role as a retained firefighter, Mr Whyte no longer has to drop everything and run when his pager goes off. With a grin he recalled when he worked in the kitchen at Christie's garden centre – when the pager sounded his apron would be flung to one side and instructions as to what he had left in the oven hastily shouted over his shoulder as he rushed to the fire station.

He added: "My wife is retiring on Christmas Eve so we're both looking forward to spending more time with the grandkids.

"With me not being on call at the fire station it means we can go away at weekends and I'm not going to miss family occasions any more."

He added that he would thoroughly recommend a career in the fire service.

"There's a lot to learn but it's definitely worth it, it's very rewarding, especially when folk come by the station to thank you for helping them.

"As I said before, it's not just about fighting fires, there's a lot of different roles in being a firefighter."

Crew Commander Dave Crawford, who served with Mr Whyte at Fochabers fire station, paid tribute to his service to the community.

He said: "We're all sorry to see Sid go – he was great to work with, an experienced firefighter who was a huge asset to the team.

"Sid was committed to serving the community and all of us here at Fochabers fire station thanks him for that dedication over the years.

"We wish him all the best for his retirement and life without a pager!"

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More