Long serving Eye firefighter thanked after long service – and recalls encounter with 10ft boa constrictor

Michael Gosling receives an award for long service at Eye Fire Station.

Michael Gosling receives an award for long service at Eye Fire Station.

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An Eye man whose service as an on-call firefighter was cut short by a serious accident has been praised for his dedication spanning almost 26 years as a valued member of the town’s crew.

Michael Gosling, who was presented with a long service certificate at his retirement party at Eye Bowls Club by Carl Francis, a personal friend and retired area commander from Ipswich, also received an engraved tankard and donations from past and present Eye firefighters.

Michael was a valued member of the crew who will be sadly missed

Watch Commander Desmond Tatum

Mr Gosling said his injuries had been sustained while training. But thanks to his local doctor and a surgeon who performed a spinal operation, he had been spared possible paralysis.

A self employed builder, Mr Gosling will continue to work, able to carry out light repairs and decorating, and paid tribute to his fellow crew members for their help and support during his illness, and The Fire Fighters Charity during rehabilitation.

He also thanked wife Maria, daughter Melita and step-son Adam, and added that between his wife’s grandfather, father, uncle and himself, they had given more than 100 years’ service at Eye and Diss fire stations.

When asked what his most memorable was during his years as a firefighter, he recalled attending a house in the town in the early 1990s. When he asked if there were any pets in the building he was told to go into one of the bedrooms.

Expecting to find a dog or a cat, he was faced with a 10ft boa constrictor.

Watch Commander Desmond Tatum said: “Michael was a valued member of the crew who will be sadly missed.”

Mr Tatum added the crew was currently recruiting new firefighters. Anyone interested was invited to visit the station, in Lambseth Street, on Monday evenings between 7pm and 9pm.