A WHITEFIELD firefighter has announced his retirement after 30 years of serving his home town.

Stewart Cottam, aged 53 from Stoneclough, has attended hundreds of incidents during his time with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, some challenging and some emotional.

But the dedicated team member says he has "enjoyed every minute."

Just one year after he joined the service's Eccles team in 1989, Mr Cottam had his first experience of a major incident.

He was among crews who were called to assist with the Strangeways Prison riot.

Fires ripped through sections of the prison during the 25-day riot over squalid prison conditions.

Other major jobs during his 30-year career include a plane crash at City Airport in Barton and a boat fire on the Manchester Ship Canal, as well as the more recent moorland fires of last year.

Mr Cottam helped to tackle Winter Hill blaze after it broke out on June 28, 2018. The fire burned for 41 days, demanding contributions from helicopter teams, drones and the military to bring it under control.

Father-of-two Mr Cottam previously worked at Bolton Central Fire Station but has been stationed at Whitefield Fire Station for the past 11 years. His last shift was on Sunday, May 12.

Tim Eaton, watch manager at Whitefield Fire Station, said: "Stewart loves getting his hands dirty. He will tell you he can't be replaced.

"He will be sadly missed."

Mr Cottam says he is looking forward to enjoying a few more holidays with his wife Delia during retirement.