Having been denied the opportunity to secure his dream job, Nathan Whitworth, a 26-year-old, had lost all hope of fulfilling his aspiration to become a firefighter.

Last year, he came incredibly close to becoming a recruit with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS), but unfortunately, narrowly missed out on the opportunity.

The Service had placed him on a reserve list in the event of a last-minute drop-out, but the call to join never came.

Disheartened by his perceived failure, he continued with his career at the shipyard as a Freight Forwarder for a small freight company.

It was never his dream job and last year Nathan decided to respond to a TWFRS advert for their latest firefighter course.

But it was heartbreaking news for the Ashington native when he passed through each stage of the process – only to be told he was on the reserve list.

He watched on as the course started and all but gave up on his dream of becoming a firefighter – only for his phone to ring one week into the course.

Nathan was informed of a last-minute drop out and offered the opportunity to start the course one week late.

He didn’t have to think twice about the offer and has now spoken of the nerve-wracking moment he entered the lecture room to meet his new colleagues.

“When it got towards the end of the first week, I was a bit disheartened thinking I wasn’t going to make it onto this course either.

“But then the phone rang it was great but also terrifying moment – the course had already started and I was the new guy coming in and I didn’t know what to expect.

“I’ve really enjoyed the whole course, it’s just as hard as I thought it would be and I knew I would have to throw myself into the role.

“I’m really looking forward to getting out on the station and put all the knowledge I’ve learnt over the last 14 weeks into practice.

“It’s hard to know how I’m going to feel when the bell goes off for the first time but I’m excited to just get into learning more about myself and this role.”


Nathan received an award at the passing out parade in March, one for the highest marks theoretically and practically on the Breathing Apparatus phase of the training course.

Now he is putting those skills to the test after being deployed to save lives as a firefighter at Tynemouth Community Fire Station.

And on Tuesday one of TWFRS’s highest-ranking firefighters was praising Nathan for the commitment he showed to realise his childhood dreams.

“Sometimes we have too many good candidates for a course and they end up on the reserve list like Nathan and you never know if you are going to be called at the last minute.”

“People have to be ready and willing to drop anything if a space becomes available just like Nathan did and it’s been clear that we called up the right person with him going on to win two of our recruits awards.

“I want to thank Nathan’s former employer as well for being so understanding, it can be so hard losing a valuable member of staff so suddenly.

“Sometimes people don’t make it on the recruits course the first time round but their persistence and patience shine through as well as their passion for the role.

“We would always encourage people from all walks of life to apply for our wholetime roles as you never know when the time is going to be right to change your life.

“Sometimes it comes when you least expect it.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Lynsey McVay

TWFRS is currently not recruiting full-time firefighters however, you can register your interest and find out more about the role on their website.

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