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Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall firefighter Andrew Sheldrick retires from job that was his boyhood dream




A firefighter who has saved lives and battled major blazes during his 46 year career has bid farewell to the job that was his childhood dream.

Andrew Sheldrick retired yesterday as crew manager at Mildenhall fire station having joined Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service in 1975.

He was a full-time firefighter in Bury St Edmunds until 2015 and helped combat some of the town’s biggest blazes including at Cupola House, Cycle King and the Bury Free Press offices in 1980.

Andrew Sheldrick, at Mildenhall fire station, has retired after 46 years with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service. Picture: Richard Marsham
Andrew Sheldrick, at Mildenhall fire station, has retired after 46 years with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service. Picture: Richard Marsham

Andrew, of Mildenhall, said: “It’s been my life since I was 18-years-old and I shall miss the camaraderie, the banter and fire service way of life.

"It’s like a big family. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my career and obviously I’ve seen some horrible things but I’ve also had some great fun.”

The 64-year-old grandfather, who has worked on-call at Mildenhall since 2006 first as a firefighter and then was promoted to crew manager in 2009, was also part of the relief crew at the Elveden Center Parcs fire in 2002.

Andrew Sheldrick with the current Mildenhall crew and former colleagues
Andrew Sheldrick with the current Mildenhall crew and former colleagues

Having been born and brought up in Mildenhall, it was Andrew’s boyhood dream to become a firefighter.

“It’s nice to be part of a team that serves a community and makes sure the community is safe,” he said.

Mildenhall is one of the busiest on-call stations in Suffolk and, given its proximity to major roads and military bases, his team has been called to some ‘horrendous’ collisions as well as aircraft crashes.

For Andrew, one of the most rewarding parts of the job is seeing those he has helped save from a fire or collision survive and recover.

The Cupola House fire in Bury St Edmunds in 2012. Picture: Roger Arbon
The Cupola House fire in Bury St Edmunds in 2012. Picture: Roger Arbon

He praised employers for giving staff the time to work on-call for the fire service.

“A lot of firms are probably struggling during this horrible time with the pandemic and they are still allowing their employees to answer the calls," he said.

“They deserve a big pat on the back.”

The fire at Cycle King on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds in 2017. Picture:Andy Abbott
The fire at Cycle King on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds in 2017. Picture:Andy Abbott

Although he has no immediate plans for the future, he said he wants to enjoy retirement with his wife Heather, travel and look back at the fond memories from his career over a glass of beer.

The fire that destroyed the Bury Free Press offices in April 1980
The fire that destroyed the Bury Free Press offices in April 1980

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