THE Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service has welcomed six new firefighters.

A passing out parade was held at Ryde Fire Station last Friday, where the new recruits were presented with their certificates by the Island's deputy chief fire officer, Steve Apter.

The new retained firefighters have completed an intensive three-week 'safe to ride' and breathing apparatus course, delivered by watch trainers Kev Ellis, Andy Cave and Kev Pont.

The new recruits will be based across the Island — Rupert Webb (East Cowes), Dave Smith (Newport), Paul Berry (Ventnor), Thomas Buckett (Yarmouth), Oscar Fitzgerald and Mark Weatherley (Sandown).

Paul, 31, was named the top recruit.

He said: "The training helped us realise us our limits, and to recognise when we are reaching them.

"Being awarded the shield was a massive surprise."

Dave Smith, 38, said: "My grandfather was a firefighter at Ryde and I wanted to follow in his footsteps — my son's taken an interest too."

Thomas Buckett, 27, said: "The training was tough, but we worked as a team and our instructors were brilliant.

"I enjoy helping people, and I've loved every minute so far."

Oscar, 19, was the youngest new recruit. He said he was inspired by his firefighter dad, and had undertaken work experience as a student at Sandown Bay Academy.

Station manager Tim Spencer-Peet said it was a pleasure working with the training team and new recruits.

He advised them to uphold 'pride, responsibility and standards' in their new roles.

The firefighters demonstrated the skills they had learned during the course, carrying out a fire drill exercise in the yard as friends and family looked on.

Following the demonstration, the firefighters lined up with their trainers and seven recruits who passed out in March to be commended by Isle of Wight Councillors Tig Outlaw and Charles Chapman.

Don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.