A Bromsgrove and Redditch-based firefighter who became the first amputee to return to active duty has retired after more than 30 years of service.

Simon Hawkins joined Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service in September 1993 but later suffered life-changing injuries during a motorcycle crash in July 2004.

The accident left Mr Hawkins with severe injuries on his lower left leg and he was forced to have it amputated. 

Simon Hawkins was the first amputee firefighter to return to active duty Simon Hawkins was the first amputee firefighter to return to active duty (Image: NQ)

Believing he would never return to active duty, doctors told him he would be unlikely to complete his full period of service and would need to retire. 

Despite this, Mr Hawkins returned to active duty in February 2006 and has now completed his full service at 30 years and eight months working in Bromsgrove, Redditch and Tenbury. 

He said: "After my accident, I returned to full operational duties with a renewed appreciation for the job I loved so much as a firefighter. 

"Over the years, I have progressed through the ranks predominately working at Redditch and Bromsgrove stations with the role of station commander at Bromsgrove and Tenbury fire stations where I have been for the last four years. 

"I have never let my amputation limit what I am capable of." 

Simon Hawkins (left) with deputy chief fire officer Guy Palmer (right)Simon Hawkins (left) with deputy chief fire officer Guy Palmer (right) (Image: Annie Hawkins)

Mr Hawkins, who has helped pave the way for other disabled firefighters, said he is leaving the fire service with lifelong friends and is set to pursue a career working in health and safety in the TV and film industry. 

He is excited to take on new challenges during the next chapter of his life and has thanked the fire service and his wife, Annie, for their support over the years. 

He retired on May 27 He retired on May 27 (Image: Annie Hawkins)

He said: "I owe so much to the fire service for supporting me through the toughest challenge of my life and moulding me into the man I am today, giving me the confidence to seek new challenges as I start a new chapter of my life. 

"I attribute my successes to the support of the people I have around me and I couldn't have achieved returning to work and finishing my 30-year career without the love and support of my wife Annie, who is the most important person in my life and my rock."