FIREFIGHTERS celebrated a 'golden' moment as their station turned 50.

To mark the momentous occasion at Port Glasgow, the firefighters invited local dignitaries, police officers and paramedics to the station for a special birthday bash with a vintage old appliance brought along.

Graeme Binning, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s local senior officer for East Renfrewshire, Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, said it was a very important milestone.

He said: "The people of Port Glasgow can be justifiably proud of their fire station and its history over the last 50 years.

"Although changes have taken place, the dedication of the fire service remains as strong as it has ever been.

"I must pay tribute to my local teams, particularly the watch commander Donald Gillan."

The station in East Bay Lane opened on October 1 1969 after moving from its previous home in Anderson Street, which was originally a stable block with a glass roof which was donated from an old mansion house.

It was seen as a big improvement on the previous fire station, as the building had a hose and drill tower and breathing apparatus chamber.

Former firemaster Mr Joseph Hartil officially opened the station and a plaque was presented by the Town Council which still takes pride of place in the building today.

Over the past 50 years, the station has been at the heart of the community with the firefighters working tirelessly to help keep people safe.

Dave Adam, the chairman of the SFRS Heritage Trust, said: "We have a long history and heritage of the fire service.

"No-one knows what the future holds but what I can say with a degree of certainty is that the men and women who keep the station going will stand first to keep the public safe for years to come."

Also speaking at the event were Scottish Fire and Rescue Service chaplains Father Jim Thomson and Reverend Gordon Armstrong, who paid tribute to crews past and present for their life saving work.

SNP Port councillor Jim MacLeod spoke of how he remembered when the station first opened.

He said: "I would have been about eight years old so it's great to see it turn 50.

"It's important that we retain services like this."

Council leader Stephen McCabe added: "The fire station has been here for a good number of years - it's an important part of the community.

"Emergency services are crucial to the community and we rely on them.

"It's important that we come here to show our support for them and hopefully we have a community fire station in Port Glasgow for a long number of years to come."

Independent councillor Tommy McVey, who is the chairman of the Local Police and Fire Scrutiny Committee, said: "This is an integral part of the SFRS estate in Inverclyde.

"The station also provides additional reassurance to residents, in the east of Inverclyde, that should the A8 be closed for any reason then the whole-time and retained firefighters based in Port Glasgow will be there to provide emergency cover 24 hours a day."