Tyne and Wear Chief Fire Officer Announces Plans to Retire

Written by on 16th March 2023

Tyne and Wear’s most senior firefighter, Chris Lowther, has announced his retirement after 26 years in the job. 

Lowther, 50, announced his plans to retire on Monday but will remain in post until a replacement is announced in May. He will then oversee a handover period, retiring no later than October 31.

Chris said: “It has been the privilege of my life to be Chief Fire Officer of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service. I firmly believe this is the best Fire and Rescue Service in the country and that has everything to do with the people who work here.

“Their commitment to creating the safest community is evident every single day and I’m so proud to have worked here for 26 years. I will never forget my time on station as a firefighter, responding to emergencies and keeping people safe was what I loved to do. I was born in Gateshead, grew up in Gateshead and started as a firefighter in Gateshead. I love this region and I love this Service.

“It is a career that has given me friends for life and an opportunity to meet thousands of people who call Tyne and Wear home. Those staff who make this organisation tick are passionate about what they do and they care about our communities. I will support the Fire Authority in the appointment of a new Chief Fire Officer but I know the future of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is bright.” 

Mr Lowther first joined the service in 1997 and was appointed chief fire officer in 2017. He has overseen ongoing budget struggles and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chairperson of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor Phil Tye said: “Chris will be a huge loss to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, his ability to get things done is second to none and understands how to take people on the journey with him. Since my appointment as chair last year, he has been inspirational both professionally and personally and he will be a big miss to myself and the whole fire authority. His commitment to staff including working conditions and safety is recognised nationally and internationally and I am sure that Chris will have more to offer to our communities outside of the Fire and Rescue Service Family”.

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