Special birthday celebrations for world's oldest retired firefighter
A war veteran who is believed to be the world’s oldest retired firefighter has celebrated his 108th birthday – with a visit from a fire engine.
Evergreen Joe Dixon celebrated his special day style on October 1 when firefighters turned up at his Northumberland care home.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service both made the trip to wish him well and bring him a birthday cake.
Young-at-heart Joe served on the front line for 27 years in what was formerly the Newcastle City Police, Fire Service before retiring in 1964.
57 years later, Joe still regularly visits operational firefighters across the region to pass on his knowledge and expertise.
The World War Two veteran, who served in RAF Bomber Command during the war, currently enjoys his retirement at Scarborough Court in Cramlington.
Joe said: “I began working in the Newcastle City Police, Fire and Rescue service in 1937, I lived in one of the 27 flats in the married quarters with my wife Lydia for 27 years, where we raised two children.
“I have always felt very important in my job. The Fire and rescue service has always made me feel very important to them.
“One fond memory I have is on my 100th birthday, I had a visit from the chief fire officer and his crew to mark the celebration and they have visited me wherever I have lived on every birthday since.
“Being at Scarbrough Court for my 108th birthday, the day could not have gone any better I am always treated very well and I am so grateful for all the support I received, I was surrounded by lots of family and friends.”
Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “I have had the pleasure of meeting Joe a number of times in recent years and he is a fantastic man who has lived a fantastic life.
“He is an inspiration to myself and the whole of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and is welcome at our headquarters any time.
“Joe’s commitment to keeping our communities safe typifies everything that our organisation stands for and I am delighted we were able to be there to wish him a happy birthday.”
Stephen Kennedy, Group Manager for Emergency Response, of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Mr Dixon is an amazing man with a wealth of experience and knowledge of the fire service that our firefighters were lucky enough to hear when they visited him.
“The service that Mr Dixon has provided to his communities over the years is awe inspiring and we feel incredibly lucky to have him as a Northumberland resident.”
Stacey Hunter, Activities Coordinator at Scarbrough Court, said: “It was such a privilege being able to be part of such a kind and humble man’s birthday celebrations.
“Seeing Joe celebrate his 108th birthday is such an honour and to see the happiness on his face when the fire and rescue service turned up along with his family was such a heart-warming sight.”
Joe was born in Newcastle in 1913, becoming a firefighter in 1937. After the conclusion of the war in 1945, Joe returned to work as a firefighter where he discovered two colleagues had not made it home.