|Children from St Lawrence's Primary School with firefighter Wayne Castree|
Primary schoolchildren in Shropshire are proud of their school caretaker Wayne Castree - part of Church Stretton's firefighting community.
Wayne is one of 12 "on call" firefighters stationed at Church Stretton Fire Station who respond to 999 calls at all times of the day and night.
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service is also proud of county employers' such as St Lawrence CE Primary School head Dick Langford who allows Wayne to down tools and leave work at a moment’s notice when his bleeper alerts him to the latest emergency in the area.
"Without the goodwill of these employers, our fire and rescue capabilities throughout the rural parts of Shropshire would be in jeopardy,” said Chief Fire Officer John Redmond.
He presented seven employers with special awards to thank them for their "crucial" support at a ceremony held at the town's fire station.
A total of 80 per cent of the brigade's firefighters' protecting the county are "on call," said Mr Redmond at their weekly drill night where fire crew demonstrated car crash rescue techniques.
"They all have other jobs in the community and give up their time to regularly train to be highly skilled firefighters ready to protect their communities whenever the call comes through in the day or the middle of the night.”
"They get to work the next day even if they have a call out at 3am. I thank them all for their dedication and their employers too. Shropshire cannot do without either of you."
Mr Redmond appealed for more employers to allow staff to become "on call" recruits across the county. There is an immediate need for them in Much Wenlock, he revealed.
Wayne Castree (44), a married father-of-two, works as a part-time school caretaker and also runs his own window cleaning business.
A firefighter for the past eight years who has attended many road crashes and house fires, he said: "I like to give something back to the community and help keep our families, friends and everyone safe. That is why we all do it.”
"If it wasn't for us, our communities would not be as safe as they are."
Head teacher Mr Langford added: "Wayne is a wonderful caretaker for our school. He opens up early in the morning and locks up in the evening and cleans and fixes everything that needs doing. He is here a lot and if he gets an emergency call we are happy for him to go. He is helping the community of Church Stretton."