A BORDERS man who became Scotland’s longest-serving firefighter has retired after an illustrious career spanning 55 years.

Watch commander Dave Farries first joined South Eastern Fire Brigade in Edinburgh as a junior fireman on August 19, 1968.

It was the start of an incredible career which has seen him dedicate his life to helping to keep local communities safe in the capital and throughout the east of Scotland.

Dave’s more than half-century of public service has included lengthy spells as a firefighter, instructor and investigator.

READ MORE: My Name'5 Doddie Foundation donates £25,000 to Leuchie

And the 70-year-old, who grew up in Hawick, was awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal (QFSM) in 2014.

In his later years he has worked as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) heritage officer and has been integral in the opening of the new Museum of Scottish Fire Heritage in Edinburgh, where he will continue as a volunteer.

He formally retired last Friday.

Peeblesshire News:

The grandfather-of-three said: “It is like cutting off an arm. I’m taking a big part of me right out and it’s away.

“I’ve loved my career and the opportunities I’ve had through the fire service.

“While I will still be connected through volunteering with the museum, it is still a big part of my life which is completely changing.

“Many people thought I would just go on until I dropped and I probably could have but I thought better of it.

“I’ll be 71 in a few weeks and now is the time to go.”

READ MORE: Attempted murder in Borders was "entirely avoidable and needless"

The SFRS held a retiral ceremony in Dave’s honour at the recently-opened museum, where he was presented with his certificate by chief officer Ross Haggart in front of family, friends and colleagues past and present.

Chief officer Haggart said: “Dave epitomises what it means to be a firefighter. He has selflessly dedicated his life to help and serve others.

“He has had a profound and positive influence in teaching and developing other firefighters during his long career.

“Dave’s legacy on our service will always remain.

“We are grateful for his tireless commitment and the huge amount of personal time he has given to keep our heritage alive.”

A personal tribute was also paid by Dave’s son, David, who followed his father into service and is currently assistant chief officer and director of service delivery with SFRS.

Peeblesshire News:

He said: “My father lives the values of the fire service day in, day out.

“He is unreservedly and unapologetically a ‘company man’ who eats, sleeps and breathes fire brigade.

“He’s a man who is respectful and respected, not only for what he’s seen but for what he’s done and how he’s done it.”

Rugby is another of Dave’s great passions and he has helped to run the Lothian and Borders, Scottish and British Fire Service Brigade rugby teams, while also devoting his time to supporting a number of charities.

And his charitable work turns festive every year in December when he dons the red suit of Father Christmas to visit a local nursery school.

READ MORE: Diversions in place for planned closure to Borders road

Dave was a volunteer at the old fire museum at Lauriston Place in Edinburgh, where he spent several years discovering and preserving a treasure trove of fire service artefacts.

Dave said: “I always said I wasn’t going to pack it in until the new museum opened.

“I needed to be in uniform to make sure I got my tuppence worth in.

“Now it is up and running, it is a good time to call it a day.

“It’ll be strange not wearing my uniform after I officially retire. I always have my uniform on at work. It’s like a second skin.

“I will miss that I am no longer an official member of the service.”