Dedicated Cambridge firefighter steps in to retirement

A popular firefighter who learned to Step In Time to keep the people of Cambridgeshire safer, is hanging up his helmet after 28 years’ serving his community.

Dave Wisbey responded to his last shout as a firefighter at Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Parkside Place Community Fire and Rescue Station on his last shift on Saturday (July 1).

The 56-year-old became a familiar face on the internet after his starring role in a Mary Poppins’ inspired chimney safety video made by Cambridge black watch went viral online.

Dave joined the Service 28 years ago after a 10-year career as an engineer, and has always been stationed in Cambridge.

The father-of-three said: “Going out on the engines, people always wave at you. I never had that appreciation before and I still remind myself that the public appreciate us and that is what makes the job worthwhile, as well as working with a fantastic set of people whether it be on a watch or with others within the Service.

“The banter is part of it but it’s also being part of a team which is very important, being able to rely on each other.”

He said he loves the job and is always one of the first to arrive and last to leave when on shift. One of his favourite memories is appearing in the watch’s two safety videos, which gained international media attention in 2015.

Dave, a skilled photographer, explained: “Initially when I did the chimney sweep video all I wanted to do was be behind the camera rather than in front of it but as it happened I really enjoyed doing it. People know me from the videos. It’s not like fame but it’s like an ice-breaker and something to talk about when people meet me.”

Watch Commander Darren Thompson said: “Dave is massively enthusiastic for someone who has done 28 years so he is a really good role model for people coming into the Service.

“He’s always up for a laugh and we will definitely remember Dave for the chimney sweep and the Thriller videos.”

Dave was presented with a firefighting figurine at the fire station on one of his last shifts by Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rick Hylton.

Rick added: “We all wish Dave a very happy and healthy retirement. Dave is not only one of the most talented firefighters I have had the privilege to serve with, he is also one of the nicest people you could ever meet. His willingness to support and assist others together with his commitment and dedication to his profession have been the hallmarks of a truly distinguished career.”

Dave is looking forward to enjoying his hobbies of clay pigeon shooting and hill walking and spending time with his wife Janice and three children Megan, Zoe and Ben.