A CLASSICALLY trained violinist is now pulling the strings for fire services locally after landing a new role.

Scottish Fire and Rescue has appointed 45-year-old Graeme Binning as local senior officer (LSO) for Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde.

Before joining the service, he spent a decade as a classical musician, performing in some of Europe’s most famous concert halls.

Mr Binning worked with three of Britain’s most celebrated orchestras, including the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Glasgow.

He said: “I was very fortunate to be able to spend the best part of 10 years performing at famous venues. It was an unforgettable time but, while you can love music, as soon as you do it as a job, the dynamic changes. I asked myself, could I do this for the next 30 years?

“So that was it. I packed all my stuff and moved to Southampton – and started my career as a firefighter soon after.

“Joining the fire service at 28, I knew it was what I wanted to do – and I don’t look back with a single ounce of regret.”

It was with the Hampshire service in Southampton that he struck up two friendships that would shape his career.

Mr Binning tragically lost colleagues Alan Bannon and Jim Shears in a multi-storey blaze in 2010. He had became good friends with both men after joining the service nine years earlier.

This devastation informs his work, with firefighter and community safety uppermost in Graeme’s mind.

He added: “To lose two good mates like that defines who I am, and is something I’ll always carry with me.”