Volunteers Week - James Smith

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Historian James Smith about why he volunteers

Jim Smith

For the last 55 years James Smith has played a vital role in Scotland’s Fire service.

Starting in 1962 as a firefighter in the Glasgow Fire Brigade, the father of three served communities for 31 years before retiring in 1993.

During his career he unfortunately lost six of his colleagues in the Kilbirnie Street fire in 1972 – one of the highest losses of life for a UK Fire Service at a single incident during peace time.

But James has had some notable career highlights - he was asked to give a talk to HRH Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh about Brigade history at the opening of the West area HQ, Hamilton.

He was also positioned at Pope John Paul II’s caravan during a visit to ensure his safety. Jim even has a leisure centre in China named after him due to the welcome, assistance and support he gave to Chinese nationals living in Scotland.

James now volunteers as a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service historian and preserves some important historical documents and pictures dating as far back as 1674.

He spoke of his role as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service this week celebrates the outstanding work of all of its volunteers.

Each and every day they work to protect communities, raise vital charity funding and preserve the heritage of the world’s fourth largest emergency service.

We are launching this campaign as part of Volunteers Week, a celebration of notable people across the UK between June 1-7.

James said: “Being a member of the fire brigade has given me an enormous sense of pride.

“I’m extremely proud to still be able to contribute and preserve some of the important history our fire service and previous legacy services have had even after my retirement.

“My involvement is purely historical but I’ve got a day to day interest in what the fire service is doing so it’s great to be here and see some of its achievements.”