TWO firefighters who joined the service on the same day have been honoured after dedicating eight decades of their lives to protecting the local community.

Jim Cuffe and Tam Finney were recently presented with commendations for their dedicated service during a ceremony at Port Glasgow Fire Station.

Peter Heath, Scottish Fire and Rescue deputy assistant chief officer, hailed the duo as 'an absolute credit to their profession'.

He said: "When you hear stories like this you can’t help but feel inspired and proud to be part of the SFRS family.

"Tam and Jim will have seen many changes during their careers, but the one thing that hasn’t waned is their commitment to helping to keep others safe.

“The fact that both men became firefighters on the same day makes this an even more remarkable story.

“A massive congratulations to both men.”

The pair both joined the old Strathclyde Fire Brigade on December 1 in 1978.

After three months of training at Renfrew Fire Station, Jim and Tam became fully fledged firefighters on March 16, 1979.

Tam was dispatched to Port Glasgow’s White Watch, where he’s spent the last 40 years.

Jim was initially based at Port Glasgow before being transferred to Greenock, where he’s remained since.

A butcher by trade, Jim, 59, has been in the service long enough to see his son, Ross, follow in his footsteps and become a crew manager.

Jim, who is a dad-of-two, says he still loves his job.

A whole-time firefighter for 34 years, he planned to retire before changing his mind to join the retained ranks.

He said: “Tam and I were at training school together – he’s an absolute fountain of knowledge.

“We’ve both seen a lot of changes within the job and will always reminisce with each other when we meet at incidents.

“I’d have to say I still get an adrenaline surge from attending incidents and from working with the rest of my watch.

“I enjoy passing on the skills I’ve learned from my time as a firefighter to new recruits.

“When I first joined I’d always sit with the older guys and try and pick up little nuggets of information from them that could help me out at an incident.

“You’re always learning in this job – there’s always new stuff that creeps up.”

Sixty-three-year-old Tam is a qualified lorry driver and in 2009 was presented with a commendation after helping to rescue several of his neighbours from a flat fire.

Tam spent 31 years as a whole-time firefighter before becoming joining the retained ranks back in 2010.

He said: “The 40 years have gone past in the blink of an eye.

“Jim is an absolute gentleman and we've both seen a lot down the years/.

"Becoming a firefighter is the best move I ever made.

“It’s a privilege and pleasure to still be involved.

"I consider this the best job in the world.

“I believe, as experienced firefighters, we have a duty to pass on what we have learned down the years to new recruits.

“Hopefully I am in a position to do that.”