AS well as looking identical, for close to 25 years Eyemouth brothers Andrew and David Girrity have been working in an identical profession, working just two miles apart.
The identical twins signed up to the fire service in their home town at the same time and after working their way through the ranks landed the position of group commanders, with David, the eldest of the two by 20 minutes, based at Musselburgh fire station and Andrew at nearby Newcraighall
Andrew admitted it was rather strange how their working lives have mirrored each other.
“It is actually quite spooky how similar our careers have been,” he told ‘The Berwickshire News’.
“David has always been promoted first and then I will follow, usually within a year or so.
“It was David that got into the fire service first and then I followed when I was 20. We were both young lads in the building trade at the time and we were attracted to the fact that being a firefighter offered something a bit different.
“Being a retained firefighter was an exciting diversion to what we were doing. And then after serving as volunteers the stability of becoming full time firefighters attracted us to go further.”
Andrew estimated that he and David must have attended hundreds, if not thousands of incidents throughout their 24 year stint with the fire service, adding that it wasn’t unusual for them to both turn up to the same emergencies.
“We’ve both been group commanders for about three years now,” he continued.
“I’ve been at Bathgate and Galashiels and it wasn’t until this past year that I got the transfer to Newcraighall. It wasn’t pre-meditated at all; it’s just where the job took me.
“Working only two miles apart we see each other constantly - we probably see more of each other at work than we do at home.
“Our jobs are quite demanding so you tend to spend more time in your uniform than you do out of it.
“It’s definitely an advantage being brothers in the same profession and working in the same area. We come across a lot of the same issues and if I need a second opinion nine times out of 10 I’ll go to David.
“We’ve attended incidents together where people have been killed or badly injured but that’s what you have to expect being a firefighter.
“It takes a while to adjust to that part of the job, I’m not sure you ever do, but you receive plenty of training when you start out and you have to concentrate on the job at hand.
“I was incident commander at Reston last week and the retained firefighters put in a great effort.
“I’d advise anyone thinking about joining up to go for it. It’s a very rewarding job and you can make a huge difference to the community.”
Although their close friends and family can tell the difference, the twins, who live less than a mile apart - Andrew in Johns Road and David in Coldingham Road - said their work colleagues have often mistaken one for the other.
Andrew continued: “There have been times when people have been working under David and thought it was me and the other way around.
“At nursery, we used to wear name badges and we joke that we need to wear those again now.”
David added: “Andy objects to being called Davy but I don’t mind. I would say about 90 per cent of people get us mixed up.
“At school it was great fun. I’d always get all Andy’s girlfriends – he never got any of mine.”
When it comes to their jobs and appearance David and Andy are identical, but when it comes to football their allegiances are very different with Andy a staunch Hibs supporter while David follows Edinburgh rivals Hearts.
David said: “My whole family, including Andy, are Hibs supporters but when I was growing up, a lot of my friends supported Hearts, so I became a Jambos supporter. You could say I rebelled.”
And Andrew’s not too bitter that the his brother’s team have beaten his favourite side on many occasions.
“I can’t remember the last time Hibs actually beat Hearts, so me and the rest of the family haven’t had that much to shout about. David is a season ticket holder at Tynecastle and I’ve been to a few derby matches with him and sat in the home end keeping my mouth shut!”