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On-call: FF Duncan Gilby

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Joining the crew at Whitchurch Fire Station as an On-call Firefighter allows Duncan Gilby to “give something back to the community”.

Duncan, 54, relocated to the area in 2017 from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, and 12 months later joined Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.

The well-travelled and keen scuba diver runs a campsite with his partner and also has his own joinery business alongside two or so call-outs a week on average with his Whitchurch colleagues.

Duncan said: “I moved to the area from the south-east and being a firefighter was always something I’d fancied.

“I saw a sign outside the station looking for on-call firefighters and thought it would be nice to be part of a community and give something back.

“I’ve found it to be very rewarding, such that I would recommend it to anyone because I enjoy it so much.

“There’s a good bunch at the station and everyone gets on so well.”

But it has been a learning curve at times for Duncan who also balances the on-call job with visits to Hertfordshire to work with long-standing customers in his joinery business.

He said: “I had not realised how much you have to learn. It’s clear to me now why that is.

“The intense training course beforehand was the hardest thing I have ever done and it tested my fitness to the limit. I was thinking I should have done it 25 years earlier.

“I didn’t think I was unfit but realised you could always be fitter. I got through it though and it helps that I’m always on the go in my day job.”

It was also an eye-opening start for Duncan when he responded to his first serious road traffic collision.

He added: “I’d only been there for a month or two. It was a nasty incident and it is one that will always stick with me.”

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