Blackpool ambulance manager thanks Fylde coast for the 'pleasure and honour' of serving community for three decades
A Blackpool ambulance operations manager who helped deliver babies, comforted dying people in their final moments, spearheaded an anti-knife crime campaign, and won awards for his hard work has hung up his uniform for the last time.
Sector manager Dave Rigby, 58, retires from the North West Ambulance Service today after 33 years.
He said: "The last 33 years have been the best 33 years of my life. I have had the pleasure and honour of serving the public in a town that I love, and the support of the community has been fantastic.
"This is probably one of the most challenging careers you could ask for. We have the real honour of being present at the start of life, but the biggest honor is actually being there at the end of life, and being with the family to support them through what is one of the most traumatic things they will ever go through.
"It can go from being the most traumatic job you have ever done in your life, with emotions that overflow, to being one of the happiest jobs in the world the next day, or even the same shift."
Dave, a dad of two, worked as an engineer before he started at the patient transport service at Lytham ambulance station in April 1988.
One year later he was promoted to emergency technician, and completed his paramedic training at Ladybridge Hall in Bolton.
Following an 18-month break in the early 1990s, he returned to work at the Blackpool ambulance station on Waterloo Road in 1993, where he qualified as a driving instructor.
Together with fellow Lancashire instructors, he set up a local ambulance driving school, improving training for NWAS staff who would otherwise have had to travel to Manchester or the Midlands.
He was appointed sector manager for the Fylde coast in 2006, taking on responsibility for operations and the general day-to-day running of the service.
Dave said: "In my time at Lancashire, and now NWAS, I have seen many changes and on the whole they have all been for the better. I would not change one bit of my career, even though some elements have been particularly challenging and very upsetting. I am very proud of my involvement in setting up the Night Safe Haven, having had the opportunity to visit the USA to promote the scheme in a national audience."
As well as the Night Safe Haven, a small on-street service that provides urgent care to people on a night out, Dave helped deliver the Be Sharp, Think Sharp campaign aimed at reducing knife crime, and raised money for the creation of the blue light memorial at Gynn Square.
He received the Sheriff's Award for security and the Chief Constable's Award, and was invited to the royal garden party at Buckingham Palace.
Now, as he closes the doors on his three-decade career, he said: "I'm very proud that I have been able to contribute over the last 33 years, but so sad to leave it behind. I have known nothing else for the last 33 years, and I wouldn't have been able to do it without my family's support.
"I have had the utter pleasure of working with and alongside some amazing colleagues both within my service and across the Fylde, from the police, fire and councils. It would be remiss not to mention my fellow managers here at Fylde who have been my support for so many years.
"I will miss my role as sector manager and would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made my time at Lancashire Ambulance and now NWAS so enjoyable. I would also like to impress just how great the Fylde is and the continued support we have received by the community we serve. It has been the best career ever."