Firefighting family is ‘quite something’

New retained firefighter Nathan Mays with his mum Amanda, watch manager. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
New retained firefighter Nathan Mays with his mum Amanda, watch manager. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

Nathan Mays has followed in the footsteps of his parents and other family members by becoming a firefighter.

He is one of a dozen new retained firefighters who went into service with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service last week, following the successful completion of initial training.

New retained firefighters, back row from left, Simon Hilliard, Nathan Chamberlain, Bradley Aldridge, Ben Allard, Luis-Tijan Sparks, Craig Rough, Ian Sewell, front from left, Nathan Mays, Stefano Hawkins, Andreas Hajiantoni, George Welling and Jack Polhill at the Horley Training Centre

New retained firefighters, back row from left, Simon Hilliard, Nathan Chamberlain, Bradley Aldridge, Ben Allard, Luis-Tijan Sparks, Craig Rough, Ian Sewell, front from left, Nathan Mays, Stefano Hawkins, Andreas Hajiantoni, George Welling and Jack Polhill at the Horley Training Centre

Nathan is now based at East Preston Fire Station, where his mum Amanda Mays is already on call as watch manager.

Dad Jon Mays, who joined the service as a retained firefighter at East Preston in October 1991, is station manager at headquarters in Chichester.

Nathan has other family members in the fire service, too, with his uncle, Darren Seymour, a watch manager in the training, development and assurance team at Worthing, and his cousin, Jeff Mays, based at Littlehampton.

The link goes back even further, as Nathan’s grandfather, Roger Seymour, served at East Preston for 27 years and was acting sub officer when he retired in 1999, the year Nathan was born.

Chief fire officer Gavin Watts said: “We always welcome our new recruits to what we call the fire and rescue service family and we do have a number of well-established family connections in our organisation, but having a mum and son on the same team, and five members of one family in the service, really is quite something.”

Simon Hilliard and Luis-Tijan Sparks have also joined the crew at East Preston.

Other new recruits include Craig Rough at Worthing.

Retained firefighters are paid to be on call for the fire service, alongside other work and family commitments.

Mr Watts said: “The retained system only works thanks to the support of local employers who recognise that supporting their staff to become retained firefighters benefits the community, their staff and their organisations.”

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