A fireman of 31 years retired this week.

James Simms, who turned 50 the day after his retirement on Tuesday spent his career in Wandsworth, Kingston, and finally for the past eight years, Wallington.

He fought to save lives at two catastrophic scenes in the 1980's at the Putney gas explosion in 1985, which killed eight, and three year later at the Clapham rail disaster which left 35 dead.

Mr Simms said: "I've enjoyed every minute of being a fireman, I'm not sure what I'm going to do next. I want to wish everyone else well. These people work very hard and risk their lives, I just hope local authorities see sense and don't close an more fire stations down."