A FIREFIGHTER has been rewarded for 20 years of hard work with a long service and good conduct medal.
Wayne Cotton was among those receiving the medal at a ceremony held at fire and rescue headquarters.
Wayne attended the ceremony with his daughter Tiffany, 25, and said he was “extremely proud”.
He said: “I always wanted to be a firefighter and it took me about two years of applying to get into the job.
“I can honestly say though that there has never been a day that I haven’t wanted to go to work.
“I still feel as enthusiastic about the job as I did 20 years ago.”
Wayne, 46, is currently a watch manager at Oakham fire station in South Street on the green watch and joined the service in June 1991, where he started on the same watch.
He stayed at Oakham station for about two years but then moved onto work at stations across Leicester. He returned to the Oakham station about 10 years ago to take up the position of watch manager.
Wayne said that no two days are the same in the job and as well as fighting blazes, he is also responsible for raising awareness of fire and running educational talks in schools. He said that during his 20 years, Wayne has only rescued three cats from trees!
Wayne, who is single and lives in Oakham, said: “Particularly in a rural area, it is all about the safety message and preventing fires It is great to be able to give something back to the community where I live and to go to work everyday doing something I love.
“It is a strong watch and we have been together for so long, we have got to know each other well. You forge good bonds with people you work with.”
Wayne’s watch, the white watch received a commendation in 2001 for helping a person who had collapsed at the Black Horse pub in Greetham by the then chief fire and rescue officer Andrew Russell.
But Wayne said he was more proud to receive the long service medal.
Stephen Willatt, a watch manager at Oakham station on red watch, also received the 20 year medal. Stephen has recently joined the UK Search and Rescue Team.