Derry fire service mechanic retires after 41 years

Bobby Kilgore who recently retired after 41 years service in the NIFRS Western Area. DER1516GS036
Bobby Kilgore who recently retired after 41 years service in the NIFRS Western Area. DER1516GS036

Derry man, Robert Kilgore’s 41 years as a fire service mechanic came to an end when he officially retired at 12:15p.m. on Friday April 15, 2016,

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (N.I.F.R.S.) organised a special retirement party for Robert in the City Hotel.

Bobby Kilgore (seated, centre) who recently retired after 41 years service in the NIFRS Western Area pictured with his wife Ann and retired colleagues at a lunch in the City Hotel on Friday last. Seated at the front, right is Billy Hamilton. Standing from left are Johnny Campbell, David Scanlon, Joe Morrison, Ken Russell, Bertie Magee and Jonathan Dunne. DER1516GS038

Bobby Kilgore (seated, centre) who recently retired after 41 years service in the NIFRS Western Area pictured with his wife Ann and retired colleagues at a lunch in the City Hotel on Friday last. Seated at the front, right is Billy Hamilton. Standing from left are Johnny Campbell, David Scanlon, Joe Morrison, Ken Russell, Bertie Magee and Jonathan Dunne. DER1516GS038

After the interview, Robert made his way into the room where he was greeted with unanimous and heartfelt applause from friends, family and colleagues, both past and present.

“If I was to sum up my 41 year long career in the fire service with one word it would be, enjoyable,” said 67 year-old Robert.

The fire service is a huge part of Robert’s life. It’s where he made countless friends and it’s also where he met his wife Ann who works for the N.I.F.R.S. in Coleraine as a District Clerk Typist.

Robert was born and reared within a stone’s throw of the Northland Road Fire Station.

“I remember the fire station on the Northland Road being built when I was a youngster. Unbeknownst to me it’s where I would end up working when I was 26,” said Robert.

Robert served his time as an apprentice mechanic in Thompson - Edwards Garage on Boating Club Lane before going to work as a mechanic at the Leckpatrick Dairy on the Rossdowney Road.

“I remember my first day at work with the fire service - I parked my car at the top of the hill and walked down to the Northland Road fire station. All of the older fellas were there when I walked in - it was daunting at the time but I soon settled in.”

Robert worked as a mechanic at the Northland Road fire station from 1975 to 1991 and then spent the rest of career working out of Crescent Link fire station.

“The biggest changes I have witnessed over the years has been with the equipment but the equipment is only as good as the person using it.

“I retired today [Friday] at 12:15p.m. but to he honest with you I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I plan on spending my retirement working on an old Mini Cooper and a MG TF (sports car).”