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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 Friday when the crew of 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 and Gateshead Fire Service before retiring in 1964. Now, 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, Northumberland.

And today the region’s top fire chiefs have praised Joe for his life-saving efforts over the last century – after helping to bring in his 108th birthday in style.


Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, today paid tribute to Joe and his life-saving efforts over the last century. He 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.”


Emergency Response Group Manager, Stephen Kennedy, of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, also paid tribute to Joe and said he was delighted the Service were able to support his big day.


He 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 to celebrate his birthday recently. 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.”


Joe was born in Walker, Newcastle, in 1913 and before becoming a firefighter in 1937 he worked at a butcher's shop.


He was able to work his way up to eventually become a sub-officer before volunteering alongside three of his firefighter colleagues in 1943 to assist with the war effort.