AN AMBULANCE technician has retired after more than 38 years with the service in North Yorkshire – firstly repairing vehicles before switching to treating patients.

Alf Pickering, 65, from Pocklington, whose retirement was marked on Friday with an event at Huntington Bowls Club, started out as an ambulance mechanic at York Ambulance Station in 1975.

But about 15 years ago, as the service looked to outsource that work, he decided to switch to a job inside the ambulances, and underwent training to become a technician.

In that role, he carried out all the work of a paramedic apart from administering certain drugs.

He started out as a relief technician and, having worked at least one shift at 15 out of the 16 ambulance stations in North Yorkshire, he completed a clean sweep by carrying out a shift at Pateley Bridge station during his last week in the job.

Alf, who is married to Jane and has three children, said he had loved every minute of the job. “It has been absolutely fantastic, especially the last 15 years,” he said.

“It has been a real pleasure and I have enjoyed it 100 per cent, and I decided to leave at 65 while I was still at the top of my enjoyment.”

He said one of his notable shifts had been when he got called out to attend the train crash at Great Heck, near Selby, in 2001, in which ten people died and scores were injured. He treated a number of passengers with minor injuries.

His colleague Julie Staveley said he had been wonderful to work with. "He's a real gentleman," she said.

Alf, who enjoys cycling but has always cycled on second hand bikes, was presented with money at his leaving party and plans to buy his first ever brand new bike.

He said he also still played football, regularly turning out for a veterans team of over 45s which he ran at Pocklington.