AN Ilkley man who has helped to protect his community for 14 years is retiring, and encouraging other locals to become on-call firefighters. Tony Short signed up to the role when he moved into Ilkley in 2005, having previously been an on-call firefighter in his old area of Skipton.

The watch manager at Ilkley Fire Station encouraged him to give it a go, and Tony says he’s never looked back.

Tony said: “It was tricky when I first moved to Ilkley as I had four children and I was trying to balance helping to raise them with working full time. But the money really came in handy when they were younger - and then I stuck with it as I was having such a fantastic time - the spirit around the fire station is great.

“The camaraderie is excellent - I’m known as ‘Shorty’ despite being 6’5! They’re such a fantastic group of people and I’ve made lifelong friendships. But another really important thing is to know you are protecting the area where you live. It gave me peace of mind knowing I was providing such a vital role.

“On a personal level it gives you lots of transferable skills, you get to keep fit - and go to exciting incidents. We’ve had some serious house fires, road traffic collisions and the more recent moorland fires. There are undoubtedly times we’ve saved lives by being available to help.”

Ilkley Fire Station, Watch Manager Alex Watson, said: “I’d like to commend Tony for a fantastic 14 years keeping Ilkley safe. He’s been such an asset to our area - a real team player. Tony has played a huge role in literally saving lives during his time here - which is a brilliant legacy to retire on. I’d encourage anyone who might be interested to call into the station for a chat - we’d be happy to talk through how great an opportunity it is.”

If you’re interested in becoming an on-call firefighter to help and protect your community like Tony or would like more information, then visit

Recruitment is ongoing at at several stations including Otley, Ilkley and Skipton.

Applicants must be 18 or over and live within one mile of the fire station you wish to work at or able to get there within five minutes of receiving an emergency call.

Location – Live and/or work within one mile of the fire station you wish to work at, or be able to get there

within five minutes of receiving an emergency call, travelling at normal road speed. You could also run,

walk or cycle if this is easier.

About you – Be 18 or over on commencement of employment, and eligible to work in the UK. Be

physically well, including good eyesight with higher than average levels of strength, endurance and

aerobic fitness. Hold literacy and numeracy Level 2 qualifications. Have a full UK driving licence.