A MUCH-LOVED firefighter has retired after more than three decades in the service.

Frank Stephenson, who was an on-call firefighter at Stanhope Fire Station has retired after 33 years and two months service after playing a vital role in County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFS).

Mr Stephenson has served the community of Stanhope since 1988 and has been commended for his hard work and bravery.

His colleagues said that he served the people of County Durham with great pride and always had a positive mental attitude.

Sarah Nattrass, assistant chief fire officer, at CDDFS has honoured Mr Stephenson.

She said: “Frank has been more than a just an on call firefighter, he was always going above and beyond to help the communities of County Durham and Darlington.”

“He has been a valued member of staff and will certainly be missed by all.

“We wish him health and happiness in his retirement and would like him to know that he will always be part of our fire family.”