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'Hovis ad' boy, Carl Barlow of London Fire Brigade, awarded for 30 years in fire service

Carl Barlow is presented with his long service award  by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Michael Craig-Cooper
Carl Barlow has won an award for long service at the London Fire Brigade
A London Fire Brigade firefighter, who once starred in the famous 'boy on a bike' Hovis advert in the 1970s, has been presented with a long service award for serving Londoners for 30 years.

Carl Barlow, 50, who now earns his crust as a Crew Manager at Islington Fire Station, said: "I've thoroughly enjoyed my career as a firefighter. I love the variety - you never know what's going to happen from one day to the next. I'd definitely recommend it as a great career."

As a boy, Carl attended drama school in his spare time and appeared in several films, TV programmes and theatre productions, as well as the Hovis bread advert, which was directed by the renowned director Ridley Scott. Carl said: "Working with Ridley Scott was a privilege although at the time he hadn't made his break into the epic films he's now famous for."

Carl says didn't want to make a career out of acting so he went on to train as a blacksmith. He then opted for a complete change and decided to join the fire brigade. He has worked at the same station, Islington, for his entire 30 year career. Carl said: "Islington has been great, I've met so many good and interesting people working here, some real characters. I'm the longest serving firefighter at the station now, all of my old colleagues have left."

Carl has attended some of the major fires and accidents in London, such as the Alexandra  Palace fire, and the train crash at Cannon Street

Carl has attended some high profile incidents in his time, he said: "The first big fire I went to was in a bedding factory, there were over 100 firefighters at there. It was quite a thrill to put my training to good use at such a huge incident."

In 1980 there was also a massive blaze at Alexandra Palace. Carl said: "The fire almost completely destroyed the Palace; my colleagues and I were down there for hours trying to get it under control."

He also attended a massive train crash at Cannon Street in 1991, in which two people were killed and over 500 were injured. Carl said: "It was horrific, I had to cut people out of the wreckage."

Carl was presented with his plaque for long service by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Sir Michael Craig-Cooper, CBE TD DL, at an awards ceremony at the Brigade's Southwark Training Centre on Thursday, 5th November.

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