Committed Scorton fireman delays retirement from Garstang Fire Station to help crew during crisis

A fireman was praised today after postponing his retirement to help out his colleagues during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 11:08 am

Father-of-three Jack Horner, 46, was due to leave in April after clocking up 25 years of service, including 20 at Garstang Fire Station, which is crewed by 14 firefighters.

But the unit manager, who lives in Scorton, had a change of heart after seeing how much pressure the county’s emergency services are under.

He was just 20 when he joined the service, serving his first five years in Lancaster, where he was on call 168 hours a week, carrying a pager most of the time.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jack Horner with his fire engine

Today he said: “ I transferred to Garstang in April 2000 and I wanted to get past April 16 so I’d done a full 20 for the community I live in.

“I had already told them I was going to go.

“But with all that’s going on I’m not prepared to leave my crew in jeopardy - I felt it wasn’t right.

“At the minute we’ve not really been mobilised to anything out of the ordinary, we are making sure we are deep cleaning things.

“ But we are anticipating assisting with other things as time goes on.

He added: “It’s business as usual for the moment, but obviously we’re trying to take more care social distancing at station.

“It’s difficult as we have to fit four people minimum in an engine when we get called out.

“My job is to keep my appliance 100% available.”

Jack does still plan to retire some time this year, leaving the station in the capable hands of his brother, who is currently the crew manager.

He added: “It will be left in good hands but I wasn’t prepared to leave until we know exactly what we’re dealing with.”

Garstang is an ‘on call’ station, meaning it’s manned by on-call firefighters.

On-call firefighters book themselves as available to respond to an incident, meaning they can combine working for the fire service with their other career or personal circumstances.

Jack also works as an Incident Commander at Springfield Fuels at Salwick.

He is married to Gillian, who works at Daisy Clough garden centre in Scorton, and they have three children aged 19,17 and 14.

In his spare time he is an athlete, previously claiming his third Iron Man title in Bolton and representing Great Britain at the European Duathlon Championships in Copenhagen.

A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:

Thank you for reading this story on our website.

But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.

Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.

As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."

But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.

We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.