Three firefighters are about to enjoy a well-deserved retirement with them all having lengthy service under their belt.

Firefighters Neil Cameron and Alan Butterworth and watch manager Tony Keane will be hanging up their boots after working on thousands of incidents in their careers out of Darwen station.

Tony, 55, has 30 years of service with Lancashire Fire and has many memories working with different crews in the county and working his way up the ranks.

He said: “The more you do it, the better you get. Even after 30 years, you still don’t know it all and you never will.

“This is one of those jobs where you don’t know what you are going to be doing from one day to the next.

“You never lose that empathy. I don’t think you could do the job we do for this long without having a level of empathy.”

As well as responding to fires and crashes, he was also on calls during the Burnley riots of 2001 and a ‘crossbow siege’ in Burnley.

Tony added: “It’s the small things, when you are going down the road and you see a child who has spotted the fire engine.

“The kids wave at us all the time but when you wave back, you make their day. You know full well that that kid is happy for the rest of the day.”

Retirement plans for Tony include a six-month break, with plans for him and his wife to complete part of the EuroVelo6 challenge which will see them cycle from the Eastern border of France to Budapest, Hungary.

Neil, 53, has worked at Darwen fire station for 24 years following a nine-year stint with the Royal Marines.

He always knew he wanted to do something adventurous which led him to the Marines and when he wanted a steadier life, he joined the fire service.

Neil said: “I have had the best careers, from serving my country in the Marines and then serving my community in the fire service.

“There are not many jobs where you can serve your community and country and also have the comradeship with your colleagues like you get in the fire service and Marines.”

Neil has worked many memorable blazes including the Darwen Moors last year and the huge blaze at The Bureau Centre for the Arts, in the former Church of St John the Evangelist, Blackburn.

But one job sticks in the mind. Neil added: “Probably the most rewarding job, it was about 2003 in Argyll Street in Darwen, I rescued a girl from a serious house fire.”

On his retirement weekend, which is officially the last weekend of May, Neil is taking on ‘the Murph challenge’ to raise money for the Fire Fighters Charity.

Neil also coaches the U18s team at AFC Darwen, which started as started as Darwen Rangers, and on the same weekend, the team will play their last match.

Further retirement plans will see Neil raising more money for various charities and travelling the world.

Finally, Alan Butterworth, better known as Butty, will be retiring after 30 years.

Alan, who is a Burnley lad and Burnley FC fan, has worked with Accrington and Burnley stations before finishing his career at Darwen.

The team gave Alan a leaving gift of a signed shirt from Burnley FC with his service number on it.