Retired paramedic Eddie Bourke looking forward to enjoying some well earned relaxation

Longhaul ambulance driver eddie is now a man of leisure

After careering around for 41 years up hills and down dales in ambulances, Eddie Bourke from Breaffy is enjoying the first weeks of his retirement as a HSE paramedic.

In his long and hectic career, Eddie has seen the good, the bad...and the truly awful.

There were car crashes by the hundreds, some of which claimed lives and caused horrific injuries.

There were a number of light plane crashes too, the last one at Kilmovee when the pilot died some years ago as he was trying to nurse his ailing machine back to Knock airport for an emergency landing.

Thankfully, there were nicer the day Eddie and a maternity nurse, the late Bridie Doherty from Castlebar, delivered a baby in an ambulance by the roadside near Swinford.

Given the number of colleagues, friends, ‘patients’ and acquaintances the popular Breaffy man has accumulated over the decades, it is no surprise that his retirement ‘do’ in the Welcome Inn Hotel was packed to the rafters.

It came as a surprise to some at the function that Eddie wasn’t always a paramedic. In fact, he started out in his working life as a trainee manager at Castlebar Bacon Factory in 1968 before leaving to join the ambulance service five years later.

Now that he’s ‘a man of leisure’, Eddie is looking forward to spending more time with wife, Eileen, and family, Anita, Gerard, Olivia, Edwina, Elaine and Sinead as well as his 12 grandchildren. Son Gerard, by the way, has followed in his dad’s ambulance tracks. He also is a paramedic.

First on Eddie and Eileen’s ‘to do’ list now that he’s retired are trips to Lanzarote and Dubai where one of their daughters, Elaine (Carney), is working.