AFTER spending thirty years in the Avon Fire Brigade, Peter Hamblin left the force and started to write.

In October 2018, Peter self-published his first book: Firefighting with God.

Peter said: “Although my successful career mostly shaped my life in a positive way, an equally damaging private life, especially those spanning the 30-year career, presented challenges I had no idea how to deal with.

“Firefighting with God reflects on that particular time and what I learnt about me, and life in general, whilst training to be a personal counsellor near to the end of my career.”

There were many moments during Peter’s career as a firefighter that he felt were life-changing. As a young firefighter, he was fighting a fire deep in the hold of a ship at Avonmouth docks and he was lucky to have avoided serious injury.

When he was a junior officer, he rescued a young woman from a fire but, despite his best efforts, he was not able to resuscitate her.

He also experienced the death of a colleague in a serious fire in a supermarket in Bristol in 1996.

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Peter explained: “I had married at 22 as an immature young man, and 17 years later, with two children, I made the crazy decision to leave my wife for another woman I had met on a drunken night out during a 13-week residential officers course at The Fire Service College at Moreton in Marsh, Gloucestershire.

“It was hardly surprising that it didn’t last long, and I spent ten years ‘being single and 18 again’, until, having been dumped by a partner for the first time in my life, I broke down and drunkenly asked God, if he or she existed, for help.”

Looking back, Peter realised he had managed to turn his life around from that moment – he then trained as a personal counsellor and found comfort in looking at life from a spiritual perspective.

As a councillor, he was introduced to the concept of The Person-Centred approach. This suggests that we are all capable of realising our potential in a process of development and continuous change.

As well as this , meeting a spiritual medium and experiencing a process called healing, meant that Peter remained forever interested in trying to discover the purpose of life when some die young and others do not.

So, he decided to write a book – Firefighting with God – which he self-published earlier this year.

He explained: “My main message from childhood was that ‘big boys don’t cry’. So, despite many emotional and dark places, I didn’t. The cathartic benefits of writing down past and present feelings were discussed in counselling training.

“I didn’t actually start writing until I came to live in West Somerset seven years ago. Whether it was the sheer natural beauty of being here I don’t know but I really do believe that nature has an energy which can help to heal us all in many ways, especially if we have the intention for it to do so.

“In fact, I see intention as being a vital part in any personal transformation.

“Being an early to bed, early to rise person I was often awake at 4am and so I began writing about my life in the hope it would help me on my journey of self-discovery and the search to find true happiness and fulfilment.

“It worked as I began the process of forgiving myself by releasing stored negative emotions and feelings.”

But why mention God? Peter explained that this is a question he is frequently asked and is one of the reasons why he decided to self-publish the book, as the publishing company thought mentioning God in the title would put people off.

Peter added: “For me God is an energy of love, an ideal if you like, about living life as well as you can with no right or wrong way, just your own way, where we are able to be helped and guided, if we recognise the opportunities and ask, and it’s meant to be for you.

“But for many God seems to mean religion and conflict. We each have a chosen unique pathway, and so my belief has become that everything in your life now is exactly as it is meant to be.

“So many people are unhappy and unfulfilled or simply searching to understand life for a multitude of reasons.

“Firefighting with God will help to explain why and how to find some of the answers.”

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