A retiring firefighter’s final job was such a cliché he thought it was a prank – saving a cat from a free.

Micky Longstaff’s hung up his helmet last month after 22 years’ service, and couldn’t believe it when it came down to his last job.

On his final shift on October 15 his crew, based in Sunderland, were sent to rescue a cat which had been stuck in a tree for two days.

The retiree, 50, said: “I used to always get asked ‘do you really rescue cats from trees’ and I thought it was quite fitting that my last job, on my last shift, with some of my closest friends was to rescue a cat from a tree.

The Northern Echo: Micky Longstaff has hung up his helmet after 22 years.Micky Longstaff has hung up his helmet after 22 years. (Image: TWFRS)

“When you usually turn up to these sorts of rescues, you’ll pitch your ladder and the cat will quite happily jump down before you even get up there, but this one was different.

“I was sent up to rescue the moggy in our Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) alongside a new firefighter who’d never used the equipment before.

“Once we were up there I was almost certain the cat was going to jump down, but it didn’t and we managed to manoeuvre it into a carry case and bring it down to safety.

The RSPCA had tried to bring the mouser to safety, but the tree was too flimsy.

The Northern Echo: Micky (R) with fellow firefighter Lee Chape (centre), the cat and its owner (L)..Micky (R) with fellow firefighter Lee Chape (centre), the cat and its owner (L).. (Image: TWFRS)

Thankfully the cat was uninjured from its treetop ordeal and reunited with its owner soon after.

Fire chiefs thanked him for his long service based at the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s Marley Park station in Sunderland.

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Station manager Lee Bell said: “said “Mick has been a dedicated firefighter over the past 22 years, he sets a wonderful example and will be a big miss on station.

“With it potentially being the last job Micky was going to be attending on behalf of the service, it was only right that he was the one to go up and get the cat.

“It provided everyone with a good laugh and a great memory of an incredible man.

“We can’t always attend every animal rescue around the region but when we can help the littlest amongst us, we will be there.”