A FORDINGBRIDGE firefighter has bid farewell after 18 years of service.

Jim Hesford joined Fordingbridge Fire Station in 1998 and retired from his role this week (MAR 14-16).

During his time with the fire station he has attended a variety of large incidents including thatch roof fires, animal rescues and serious road accidents.

He also attended two of the largest forest fires in recent times. Firstly the large fire at St Stephens Castle at Verwood in 2003 which required 25 fire engines to put it out and a large fire in 2011 at Swinley Forest in Berkshire.

Jim’s full-time role as a nurse at Bournemouth Hospital also proved useful when the crew was dealing with first aid at incidents.

Watch manager Pete White said: “Jim is going to be missed by all the team.”

During his time at the station he joined fellow firefighters to cycle to Fordingbridge’s twin town Vimoutiers in 1999 and was a regular at their charity car washes, helping to make lots of money for good causes.