AN Arran minister who has spent 36 years on the frontline as a retained firefighter is to hang up his parish pump.

Rev. Angus Adamson has kept the Isle of Arran community safe from a range of different emergencies including floods and road traffic accidents since 1981.

The 55-year-old was moved to follow in his dad Robert’s footsteps and join the Service after the horror of watching his neighbour’s beloved 300-year-old home burn down as a child.

“I was only ten, but it stayed with me,” explained Angus.

“We were wakened that morning by my neighbour, Bertie Black, calling for help.

“The Blacks had been at Rowan Park for over 300 years and they lost everything. Fire extinguishers made no impression.

“Three hundred years of family heirlooms and history, gone in smoke.”

“You don’t forget that feeling of utter helplessness in the face of fire,” Angus added.

“Joining the Service was inevitable. That was more than enough motivation to make sure I joined as soon as I was able to at 19.”

The former mechanic turned St Bride’s Church of Scotland minister brought his incredible tenure to a close on New Year’s Eve.

He said: “It’s been an honour and a huge privilege, but simply it’s time to move over and let someone younger enjoy the privilege I’ve had.

“It has always been such a boost to be able to switch off from the pressures and expectations of being parish minister to some 3000 souls, and for three hours each Tuesday drill night just to be one of the crew.

“I’ll miss that. And, like my father, the first volunteer leader at Corriecravie before me, 55 is the right time to go, not least as genetics catch up with me.

“He too needed two knee replacements. And no, on my part, that hasn’t been caused by spending too much time on them praying, but too many years like him as a mechanic kneeling on cold concrete floors and crawling under vehicles at breakdowns soaked to the skin and lugging gearboxes about.”

The dad-of-two hopes his retirement from the frontline will allow him more time to spend with his wife Susan and their one-year-old rescue terrier, Dougie.

But he also has an eye on a major passion project: rebuilding the fallen Rowan Park house, after he purchased the derelict site 20 years ago.

He said: “It remains to this day a demolished ruin but, one day, I hope to rebuild her from the dust.”

Being so involved on Arran means Angus is required not only as a firefighter, but as a minister serving his community through sermons, weddings and funerals, and offering spiritual support to families.

During his three-and-half-decade service, one infamous call to a remote farm house in 1992 sticks out for Angus – after he almost lost his foot in a freak accident.

“Cutting away a dangerous roof beam in the dark, the axe I was wielding glanced off the steel and went right through my foot,” Angus remembered. “I didn’t look as they pulled my wellie off.

“I was bundled into the back of a van for the 12-mile trip to hospital in Lamlash. I lived to tell the tale and the foot, despite my best efforts to have it otherwise, is still attached to the end of my leg.”

After taking the cloth in 2006, Angus moved a few miles across the island to Brodick, where he had to bust some pastoral stereotypes.

“I’m not so sure some of the younger crew, who didn’t know me so well then, thought it was such a great idea having the minister in the crew,” Angus recalled.

“But very soon I think they became aware I’m maybe not the conventional or stereotypical image of the kill-joy parson.”

James Scott, Local Senior Officer for East Ayrshire, North Ayrshire and South Ayrshire, praised Angus’s commitment to keeping his community safe.

He said: “Angus’s commitment and contribution to the safety of the community of Arran is immeasurable.

“The number of people that have benefited from Angus’s support, both professionally in his role as a firefighter and spiritually in his role as a minister, is outstanding. He has been a credit to himself, his community, and the whole Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Chief Officer Alasdair Hay added: “Retained firefighters like Angus Adamson show that anyone can make a difference.

“Angus and nearly 7,000 others like him are living proof that heroes take many forms and that fills me with greatest pride.

“All it takes is the commitment and dedication to save life and prevent risk to keep communities from harm.

“I would encourage others to broaden their horizons, learn new skills and serve at the very heart of their community by becoming a retained firefighter.”

Anyone interested in becoming an RDS firefighter can get more information by visiting: