Crew’s farewell as firefighter Dave hangs up helmet after 20 years
PUBLISHED: 19:00 15 October 2020
ALEX SMITH, CREW COMMANDER
Ipswich on-call firefighters have given a send-off to David Chatfield, as he hangs up his helmet after 20 years with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.
Mr Chatfield, 45, nicknamed “Chatty”, was stationed at Ipswich East Fire Station, after previously serving at Holbrook and the former HQ in Colchester Road.
He said: “I have a lot of good memories. I’d like to thank the crew for putting up with me.”
Now a professional photographer, Mr Chatfield originally joined the Holbrook crew while he was working as a joiner at a nearby school, after a colleague suggested it.
Over the years, he has got used to dashing out to calls from work.
He has also sometimes spent hours out on a call before going to work the next morning - getting very little sleep.
“My wife Michelle has stuck by me and put up with it. She deserves a medal,” he said.
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He added that their children, Ella Louise, 17, and Flynn, 13, had both grown up with him constantly dashing out on “shouts.”
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The dad even went out on a call straight after returning from the hospital after his daughter’s birth.
Mr Chatfield said he had seen many changes in the fire service over the years and had been on all sorts of calls.
“It’s been everything from fatalities to rescuing a cat stuck up a tree.”
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His firefighter colleagues presented him with gifts including the traditional firefighter axe.
Because of social distancing, they couldn’t all line up for the usual group photo - but they still posed for a photo by standing two metres apart.
Mr Chatfield is now concentrating on his business, David Chatfield Photography, and makes regular trips to London on photographic assignments. He is also still working as a carpenter.
Mark Hardingham, Chief Fire Officer, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Dave has given exceptional service to Suffolk and its communities, and I’d like to personally thank him for his dedication over the last 20 years.
“I know he will be missed by the crews and staff across Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service.
“I wish Dave all the best for the future, and hope he enjoys the time to follow his passion and talent for photography.”
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