A former firefighter, believed to be our oldest beneficiary, has celebrated his 109th birthday with more than 500 cards sent from across the UK.

Joe Dixon, who joined the fire service in 1937 and served for 27 years in what was formerly the Newcastle City Police Fire Service, received a visit from members of Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Tyne and Wear Fire Rescue on 1 October at Scarbrough Court, his care home in Northumberland.

The World War Two veteran, who served in RAF Bomber Command during the war, is fondly known in his local community and within the fire service.

In a particularly kind gesture, the home’s Activities Coordinator, Stacey Hunter, got in touch with us the week before his birthday about a wish she had to get 109 birthday cards sent to Joe on his special day. We shared her social media post, alongside many others in the community, and Joe ended up receiving 567 cards in total – making his day one to remember.

Joe says: “During my time in the fire service, we worked with the police, ambulance and emergency vehicles, which I drove and maintained. During that time, message came into my work requesting air crew for the RAF…

“I got given the title of Flight Attendant Engineer and I had two other crew members who sadly did not return from the war. When the war was over, I returned back to my fire service duties as a sub officer in Pilgrim Street. I served in the fire serve for 27 years in total.”

And Stacey adds: “It was so overwhelming when we received all the cards, he nor I could believe how kind everyone has been to get cards and birthday messages to such a wonderful man. When I mentioned about The Fire Fighters Charity, he recognised it straight away.”

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said following the visit: “It was a pleasure to visit him on Saturday to wish him a Happy 109th Birthday and share in what was a special day. Joe’s commitment to keeping our communities safe typifies everything that our organisation stands for and we are delighted we were able to be there.”

From all of us here at The Fire Fighters Charity, a huge Happy Birthday Joe!

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