Female soldier who travelled the world and challenged stereotypes returns home to South Shields to begin life as a firefighter

A female soldier from South Shields who challenged stereotypes and travelled the world to keep vulnerable people safe has returned home to start a new life as a firefighter.

Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 3:23 pm

Sarah Bainbridge, 30, has served with the British Army overseas including Jordan and South America, and at RAF Digby in Lincolnshire but her heart has always stayed at home in South Shields.

Now after six years, Sarah has returned to the North East to work at the South Shields Community Fire Station.

Sarah said "I always wanted to experience a job with some high intensity and I’ve always loved a stressful project. After University I knew I would never be suited to an office job, so I looked into joining the fire service, but due to a recruitment freeze there was never an opportunity for me to apply so I joined the army.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Read More

Read More
Exclusive: South Shields chairman Geoff Thompson explains why he appointed Sunde...

"I was born in South Shields and left as soon I could because I wanted to experience more, but now I have my own home on the sea front and I want work in and serve the community where I grew up."

Fluent in French, Spanish and Arabic, Sarah joined the British Army as a linguist and translator after initially being rejected by the Royal Navy over a tattoo.

And she is now encouraging other women to get involved in the fire service by sharing her training experiences.

Sarah Bainbridge, 30

She added: "Being back home to work is lush, you miss out on so much when you are abroad. I'm glad I can go to weddings and birthday parties and be there for my mam. Although the course was stressful, when I look back I just think about all the good times we had, the course is made by the people on it.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Lynsey McVay, is encouraging more women like Sarah to become part of the fire family.

She said: "Anyone can be a firefighter, you just have determination, commitment, the heart and people at the core of what you do - we can teach you the rest. We hope people like Sarah can help inspire other women to consider a role as a firefighter.”

If you are thinking about a change in career then TWFRS are recruiting for a number of operational and corporate roles across the service on their website.

Sarah Bainbridge, 30

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today.

Enjoy unlimited access to all of our news and sport, see fewer ads, experience faster load times, test your brain with daily puzzles and get access to exclusive newsletters.

Your support for our journalism means we can continue telling South Tyneside’s stories for generations to come. Click here to subscribe - and click here to get a snapshot of the Gazette’s news and sport to your inbox through our email newsletters.

Sarah Bainbridge, 30