Persistence paid off for this Firefighter

A dedicated firefighter who has spent more than two decades saving lives and keeping communities safe has called on others to follow in his footsteps.

Jonny Williams dreamt of being a firefighter as a child and used to run passed Tynemouth Community Fire Station every day.

But the 47-year-old had to wait six years to fulfil those dreams after failing to succeed in the application process.

Jonny says he was not going to give up and applied to join fire services across the country so he could put his passion for saving lives into practice.

He was eventually successful in 1998 and has now called on others with the same determination to join the job to consider following in his footsteps as a fire fighter.

He said “I just kept going, each rejection actually spurred me on more because I knew I was getting closer to my dream and I was going to do anything to get there.

“I had a friend who I played ice hockey with someone who was a firefighter who shared some tips for the application forms, and thanks to him it’s inspired me to do the same for the next generation.

“The past 24 years have been everything I hoped they would be. You have a purpose as a firefighter and you know you’re there for people at their lowest moment.

“We are recruiting now and I would encourage anyone who has that spark inside them to take a chance and put in an application.”

In 1998, Jonny was accepted into North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and his career as a firefighter began with training in Ripon before being stationed at Whitby.

However, the Whitley Bay native missed the North East and after six years relocated back to his hometown with his now wife Nicola to start a family, transferring services in 2004.

From then on, Jonny has worked all over the North East keep communities safe and working his way up to Watch Manager on the Red Watch at Tynemouth Community Fire Station.

The father-of-three said “All roads lead back to Tynemouth, I’ve worked at a number of different stations across the Service I’ve always ended up back here like it was meant to be.

“The more effort and time you put into the applications and the training is of course going to be difficult but it’s totally worth it, I wouldn’t change anything about my career.”

And today (Friday) one of TWFRS’s highest ranking firefighters has thanked Jonny for his persistent and encouraged others to join their ranks during their biggest recruitment drive in years.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Lynsey McVay said “Jonny has always had the drive to be a firefighter and that is exactly what we want from our new recruits.

“You’ve got to keep going in the face of adversity, our training course is incredibly difficult but it’s got to prepare you for the real world situations.

“Being a firefighter is the greatest job because each day is different, you never know what a shift is going to throw at you so you’ve got to adapt.

“We are continuing with one of the biggest recruitment drives we have ever had and want to encourage others to consider a career with us.

“Regardless of your age, gender, race, religion or sexuality, there is a home for you here in Tyne and Wear so get on our website and apply to become part of the team.”