After two years’ training, Richard was 18 when he walked through the door of Henley fire station, for his first drill night on 24th January 1979.

He was working weekdays as a computer numerically controlled (CNC) engineer at Wright Engineering, in Stratford, and was on call when he got home to Henley from 5.30pm until 7am, and at the weekends.

When he left Wrights in 1988, to work as a CNC engineer at Henley Engineers, in Edge Lane, Richard was on call between 120 and 140 hours of a 168-hour week.

He said that his wife Sara and their children, Lucie, aged 26, and Alex, aged 22, were used to him having to dash off to the fire station when they were growing up.

Richard said: “There has been many a time when I have left my shopping in the aisle as my pager has gone off.

“All the local people know me though and just put my shopping back on the shelf,” he added.

The watch commander attended his last drill night at the station on Tuesday 25th February, where he was presented with a recognition certificate for his 35 years’ service, by station commander Ken Probin.

In 1999, Richard received an award for 20 years’ service.

Richard added: “I feel it’s been quite an achievement, as I have committed the majority of hours in the week.”

Richard will be continuing to work full time as an engineer, and said that retiring from the fire service will free up the commitment of being on call, and leaves time to do other things at the weekends and in the evenings, as well as spend quality time with his wife.