Firefighter retires after cancer diagnosis

Wayne Crossman (centre) was accompanied by his family as he retired from the fire service

Wayne Crossman (centre) was accompanied by his family as he retired from the fire service - Credit: Wayne Gardiner

A Dagenham firefighter has retired after being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Wayne Crossman, 42, ended his 22-year career in the London Fire Brigade after receiving an incurable leukaemia diagnosis and being transferred to light duties.

He worked at Bow, Whitechapel and Stoke Newington fire stations before moving to Dagenham, where he served from June 2014.

Wayne, who began training with the brigade when he was 20, was presented with a golden axe at Dagenham Fire Station to mark his retirement.

He was accompanied by his 10 year old son, his girlfriend, his parents and sister.

Looking back on his career, Wayne highlighted the brotherhood of the fire brigade.

He said: “I’ve always treated the fire brigade as almost an extension to school where you’re surrounded by your friends and you’re always having a laugh.

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"Of course, it all becomes extremely serious the second the bells go down and you go out on the fire engine”, he said.

According to Wayne, the job has changed since he first started 22 years ago.

Not only are there fewer domestic fires, he said, but “there's a lot more fire prevention and smoke alarms and going out and trying to inform the public.

"It's not just riding around on a big red fire engine."

Following his leukaemia diagnosis, Wayne is bidding to raise the issue of decontamination and how often firefighters have to change fire gear. 

He is planning to focus on his treatment and move to the south coast with his girlfriend and his son, Georgie, by Christmas.

He said: “I do plan on enjoying the time that I have, however long that is."

According to Wayne, he and his family are looking forward to “starting a new life at a much slower and more relaxed pace”.

Dagenham Fire Station commander, Neil Dickinson, said: “Wayne was a valued member of all the watches that he served on and a dependable and professional firefighter.

"The London Fire Brigade wishes him all the best in his retirement.”