A FIREFIGHTER from St Ives has retired after 30 years.

Colleagues said Nigel Burgess would be "sorely missed" because of his professional approach and dedication.

The 60-year-old, whose father served in the National Fire Service, started his career in the county as a member of Red Watch in Cambridge in 1982 before working in Stanground, near Peterborough, and Huntingdon, and then returning to Cambridge as sub officer. He also spent time as an instructor at the Fire Service College in Gloucestershire and as assistant division officer for fire safety in Peterborough, as well as station commander in Wisbech. He was most recently station commander in Huntingdon.

Mr Burgess insists: "My boss has always been the little old lady across the road. That is the person who I am here for day-in, day-out to help and serve. We start as a group, work together as a team and end up as family here at the fire service."

No single incident stands out for the father-of-three, as every shout was as important as the next.

Andy Watson, area manager at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Nigel always maintained a professional approach to his work and was dedicated to serving the people of Cambridgeshire."

Even as Mr Burgess spends the first year of his retirement caravanning and walking in the countryside with his partner Jan, , the fire service will still remain part of the family - his son Neville is a firefighter at Stanground.