Brackley firefighter set to retire after more than 45 years of service to the community

"His commitment to Brackley town and the fire service is an amazing achievement, and he will always be part of the fire station family.”
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A Brackley firefighter with more than 45 years of service to the community is set to retire at the end of the month.

The Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service will celebrate one of its own tomorrow, Wednesday April 27, when Firefighter Graham Ayres attends his final drill night at Brackley Fire Station. A special presentation by the chief fire officer will take place during his final drill night. Family, friends and former and current colleagues will also be in attendance.

Thomas Marchant, who serves as Graham’s watch commander and line manager, said: "Graham has never been afraid to get stuck in or get his hands messy, even towards the end of his career he’s still keen to get involved and show the younger firefighters how it’s done.

Brackley Firefighter Graham Ayres is set to retire at the end of April after more than 45 years of service to the fire service and wider Brackley area. (photo from previous Banbury Guardian story)Brackley Firefighter Graham Ayres is set to retire at the end of April after more than 45 years of service to the fire service and wider Brackley area. (photo from previous Banbury Guardian story)
Brackley Firefighter Graham Ayres is set to retire at the end of April after more than 45 years of service to the fire service and wider Brackley area. (photo from previous Banbury Guardian story)

"His commitment to Brackley town and the fire service is an amazing achievement, and he will always be part of the fire station family. He has been a pleasure to work with all these years, and I will miss the wisdom and experience that will leave with him.

“He is believed to be one of the longest serving operational retained firefighters in Northamptonshire. In 2019 he was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to the county and the fire service, and has provided over 260,000 hours of operational cover over his long career on top of doing a normal daytime job.”

Graham started his firefighting career in 1976 in Brackley after a friend suggested the idea.

Graham spoke to the Banbury Guardian after receiving his award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours He said: “I used to work for Brackley Motors, long gone now, and one of the blokes there was a leading firefighter.

Brackley Firefighter Graham Ayres is set to retire at the end of April after more than 45 years of service. He's pictured here working in the 1980s. (photo from Jonathon Ayres, Graham's son).Brackley Firefighter Graham Ayres is set to retire at the end of April after more than 45 years of service. He's pictured here working in the 1980s. (photo from Jonathon Ayres, Graham's son).
Brackley Firefighter Graham Ayres is set to retire at the end of April after more than 45 years of service. He's pictured here working in the 1980s. (photo from Jonathon Ayres, Graham's son).

“He said to me ‘they are still looking for firefighters, why don’t you come along and have a look.’

“So I went along one Tuesday night and it all started from there.”

Graham’s exploits during his career include receiving a commendation on March 30, 1981, for his efforts in the rescue of two casualties, during which the property on fire collapsed.

Graham's son, Jonathan Ayres, is also a serving firefighter at Brackley Fire Station.

He said: “I have been on many jobs with my dad, and attended a whole array of incidents some good, some bad, but we all look out for each other.

“He has passed his knowledge onto to myself and to all the crews past and present. And most will agree when there is a chimney fire (Graham was the man for the job.)

“He has served longer than I have been alive.

“I joined in 2006, and currently serve as a crew commander at Brackley so it was strange to start with riding in charge of the crew and my dad, but what will be even stranger is looking in the back of the appliance (fire engine) and he no longer being on the truck.”