An on-call firefighter for a Cambridgeshire village has retired after 20 years of service. 

Mark Milner, of Manea, has served his local community for the past two decades - all whilst working full-time. 

The 58-year-old, who is a health and safety and fire consultant for a local company, was based at Manea but has worked across the county's fire stations.  

He said: "I don't see it so much a job; it's more a getting together of people that turn out to be friends, even if just once a week.

"I did my training with another guy from Manea, Tony Burton, so we were very close and still are.

"You all live in the same community and build lasting friendships from that time." 

Wisbech Standard: Mark Milner with his daughter Courtney BurkeMark Milner with his daughter Courtney Burke (Image: Courtney Burke)

Although he wanted to become a firefighter when he previously lived in London, Mr Milner failed the application process when he was younger.

When he moved to Manea, however, Mr Milner became aware of the on-call system - however, he didn't know how it worked for quite some time. 

"My son played for a local football team when he was 9/10 and two of the dads were on-call firefighters then," he said

"They invited me down, and the rest is history," he added.  

"Ever since, I've had a sense of satisfaction of doing the role."

Having stepped down from the role on September 8 - the day of his 58th birthday - Mr Milner was presented a figurine from a local area commander at Manea fire station last Thursday. 

"I thought 'that's enough' and that it was time to let some younger people have a go," he said. 

"20 years was always my target," he added. 

"I remember saying to myself 'I didn't want to be getting out of bed at 3am when I'm in my 60'. 

He added: "I always wanted to go out on a high, and for it to be on my terms."

Mr Milner also encouraged people to join the on-call team.

"One of the main things about being an on-call firefighter is trying to recruit people," he said. 

"A lot of stations struggle, across the country, so I would urge people to sign up if they can."  

Mr Milner's daughter, Courtney Burke, said: "I'm so incredibly proud of my papa. 

"To have served Manea for 20 years as a firefighter is such an achievement. 

"Never underestimate the difference you made."