Britain's longest serving firefighter is retiring after saving thousands of lives during 50-year career

Kelvin Chell, 66, is retiring this weekend after spending half a century working for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

He is estimated to have tackled around 10,500 fires during his career after dedicating five decades of his life to helping others.

Kelvin joined the service on September 4, 1972 as a junior firefighter aged 16 and will officially retire on Sunday (4/9) - exactly 50 years later to the day.

When he first started out his helmet was made of cork, fire engines could only go speeds of up to 40mph and he used hacksaws to free people from car crashes.

The dad-of-two has since attended countless call-outs as he rose through the ranks - ranging from small fires and rescues to devastating explosions.

But he is now calling it a day with 50 years of service under his belt to spend more time with his wife, two children and three grandchildren.

Kelvin, of Stoke-on Trent, said: “It's surreal really, since I've joined I've never really wanted to leave. It's just been a job that I've taken on for life.

“I started as a junior fireman, I was 16 straight from school - so this was my first and only job.

“I've never had any intention to leave and work somewhere else. Is it bad saying I was good at my job?

“To get to 50 years is wonderful, some people aren’t lucky enough to do 50 years in their career.

"But also to have worked with such a fine bunch of people throughout my career has been an honour. We are one big happy family. We're all team players.

"Plus I owe my wife a holiday after 50 years. That’s first on the list once I leave." 

Filmed on 1st September 2022