“There was no sympathy in my day if they misbehaved they got the hose at them.”


“Absolutely stunned at the amazing changes and extremely thankful” is how Retired Wigan Chief Fire Officer Bernard felt after his wish of going back to work for the day is granted by Wigan fire station.

Bernard Managed over 8 fire stations during his career which starting in 1952 progressing through the ranks until he was promoted to division commander on 1st August 1977 until his retirement in 1980, Bernard managed stations in Wigan, Bolton, Baccup, Leigh and Chadderton and remembers each station as clear as yesterday.

Bernard’s wish was granted this week thanks to Wigan Fire station and Norley Hall care home Activities co-ordinator Elaine Lunn who came together to organise a day Bernard will never forget.

Bernard arrived at Wigan fire station at 10:30am on 24th July where he was greeted by the watch on duty along with Station Manager John Duffin.

Bernard started the morning by telling the crew what they did in his day and how excited he was to see what had changed since he retired 36 years ago.

The fire crew went through each piece of equipment and talked about what had changed over the years with Bernard telling them how they used it in his day.

The crew then took Bernard outside where he they did a full drill using hoses, equipment and the tower to demonstrate how the would tackle a blaze today.

During the drill Bernard said to Station Manager John “I would like to see them line up and report in for duty like we did in my day”, this is something that hasn’t been done for 20 years but the crew knew exactly what to do and it was an honour to recreate the memory for Bernard going back 40 years.

John Duffin Station Manager say’s “It’s been an absolute pleasure to have Bernard back in the station today, we have all enjoyed his company and thoroughly enjoyed talking about the changes over the years .”

Bernard say’s “It’s been a fantastic day, thank you so much to all the men at Wigan Fire Station, my wish was granted and we have formed a relationship, I will be going back to show them pictures of when I worked there all those years ago, the changes in the station today are amazing, the kit and apparatus these days have come a long long way.”


Bernard shared pictures and news paper clippings of achievement’s during his career including winning a drill competition in 1962 and meeting Prince Charles when he opened the Head Quarters in 1974.


Bernard's Fire engine

Bernard’s Fire engine

Bernard’s promotion 1977

Bernard in uniform



For more information on Norley Hall care home or the wish project contact 01942 224334 Email  clare@millennium-care.co.uk or visit https://www.millennium-care.co.uk/norley-hall-care-home/