Fire­fighter stands down to con­cen­trate on day job

The Oban Times - - NEWS - MON­ICA GIB­SON mgib­son@oban­

A FIRE­FIGHTER who has helped pro­tect lo­cal peo­ple for al­most 30 years has de­cided to stand down and con­cen­trate on the day job.

Al­lan MacKin­non served as a re­tained fire-fighter ini­tially in Kin­lochleven for 13 years be­fore mov­ing up to Fort Wil­liam.

The fa­ther of three and grand­fa­ther of seven has re­ceived nearly 10,000 call outs dur­ing his time and says he now looks for­ward to hav­ing a few more hours with the fam­ily, as well as hold­ing down his job at the alu­minium smelter. Mr MacKin­non told The Oban

Times a few of his friends had joined the ser­vice and that’s how he de­cided to fol­low suit.

The 54-year- old added: ‘It was quite a thing to be taken into the bri­gade at that time. I ap­plied and thank­fully I got in.

‘I’ve en­joyed help­ing peo­ple, there’s been some nasty road ac­ci­dents which I would rather for­get and the flood­ing years back was prob­a­bly one of the scari­est things.

‘I’m not good with wa­ter as it is but when you’re in wa­ter up to your chest and not sure of your foot­ing – that was hard.

‘But things have def­i­nitely changed over the years – hav­ing a pager strapped to your side 24 hours a day and hav­ing to be avail­able around 120 hours a week has taken it’s toll.’ Mr MacKin­non also said im­prove­ments in health and safety stan­dards have lead to more fre­quent and more var­ied train­ing which has some­times forced him to take hol­i­days from his job at the smelter.

Mr MacKin­non worked at the smelter in Kin­lochleven be­fore it closed and de­spite the Fort Wil­liam one now be­ing un­der of­fer, he says he is not too wor­ried.

He added: ‘ The smelter has been un­der re­view for some time. Man­age­ment were down in Lon­don last week so we un­der­stand they hope to be mak­ing an an­nounce­ment any day re­ally.

‘The bosses have al­ways said they won’t nec­es­sar­ily take the high­est bid­der but will do what is best for the area.

‘I’m quite con­fi­dent it will stay open, but for me it’s not the end of the world as I could take my pen­sion and my son has just started his own plumb­ing busi­ness so I could al­ways be a plumb­ing mate a few days a week if need be.

‘Mo­rale is still okay at the smelter, it has been a long 10 months right enough – we’ll be glad when we know what’s what.’

To cel­e­brate his re­tire­ment, Mr MacKin­non has had two pre­sen­ta­tions – one in In­ver­ness at and a sec­ond, more per­sonal oc­ca­sion, in the Rail­way Club in Fort Wil­liam last Friday.

He said: ‘Some­one was do­ing a count and there were 81 who turned up at the club.

‘It was great to see a lot of the team and I was very grate­ful for the gifts.

‘They gave me a hunter’s pocket watch, whisky and a voucher for a ho­tel which me and the wife will use soon.’

Pho­to­graph: An­thony MacMil­lan Pho­tog­ra­phy.

More than 80 peo­ple turned up to thank Al­lan MacKin­non at his re­tire­ment pre­sen­ta­tion in the Rail­way Club on Friday Novem­ber 11.

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