Firefighter stands down to concentrate on day job
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.’
More than 80 people turned up to thank Allan MacKinnon at his retirement presentation in the Railway Club on Friday November 11.