A Bradford firefighter has hung up his uniform for the final time after three decades in the fire service.

Watch commander Nick Padwick, 54, who has been based in stations across the district including Bradford fire station for 12 years and ten years in Shipley, retired this week, marking his final shift with a curry with his colleagues at Fairweather Green fire station.

He joined the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service at 24, and was based in Halifax for five years, but applied to be transferred to Bradford to be nearer his Heaton home.

He said: “It was very busy. They used to do a lot more calls at the time than they do now because there were no smoke detectors, or it was rare if they were used.

“It’s just what I signed up for – it was a firefighter’s life.”

He said when he started at Bradford Fire Station staff were responding to about 5,000 fires a year, a figure which now stands at less than 2,000. The proactiveness of the fire service and promotion of smoke detection had driven down the amount of fires in the station area.

“It’s been great, I’ve really enjoyed it,” he said. “I have worked with some great people over the years and there’s always been a lot of camaraderie, I’ve a lot of laughs and some good memories to take with me.”

Bradford District Commander Jim Butters said: “I’ve known Nick for the last four or five years and I was his station commander in Shipley in the past.

“He is one of the nicest blokes you would ever want to meet, totally professional.”

He said it was a “credit” to Mr Padwick that he had been included in the service’s operational resource pool, which meant for the last few years of his career he was deployed to different stations across the region – a job for which Mr Butters said there was a lot of competition.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to someone that does 30 years in the fire service,” he added.