A Moray firefighter has delayed his retirement to continue helping his local station during the coronavirus crisis.
Paul Taylor, 54, was due to start a new chapter of his life on Spain’s sun-kissed Costa Blanca this week after more than three decades working as a firefighter.
Alongside wife Angela, the couple were set to swap Forres for Algorfa in southern Spain before the Covid-19 pandemic put everything on hold.
With their dream move delayed, Mr Taylor has postponed his retiral from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and will remain on-call as watch commander with the retained crew at Forres Community Fire Station.
Mr Taylor – who spent 35 years with the Royal Air Force and Ministry of Defence fire and rescue services – has protected his local community as an on-call firefighter since 2006.
He said: “We were all set for the move – we’d bought our new home in Aglorfa and our things were already packed to be collected this week – when everything just came to a halt.
“I’d retired from my job with the defence service after a fantastic career, and my notice was already in to leave and finish up with the retained service.
“Obviously it’s been a very disappointing and uncertain time, but ultimately I couldn’t sit at home and feel sorry myself.
“I couldn’t leave the station – and leave my mates – short at this time.
“Four of these lads are posties, for example, and they’re still out working hard at their day job while remaining on call.
“Angela and I will make our move eventually, but until then I am in a position to help the crew, so it was a no-brainer to withdraw my notice papers and get the battery back in the pager.”
Area commander Martin Tait, the SFRS’s local senior officer for Aberdeenshire and Moray, thanked Mr Taylor and all frontline personnel for their commitment during the “national crisis”.
He said: “To minimise the impact on our emergency response during the course of this pandemic, we are looking at a number of ways to ensure we are able to cover any predicted staff shortages and maintain resilience.
“We have also seen a number of individuals, such as Paul, offer to postpone their much-earned retirement to continue working to protect their communities through this difficult period.
“I must thank Paul for his unwavering commitment and service to the Forres and wider Moray community.
“More than ever, firefighters are being asked to do a difficult job in difficult conditions, and the dedication and spirit shown by Paul and others like him will help us to continue to provide a resilient emergency service throughout Scotland.”