GYM worker Jenny Beech has made history by becoming Portland's first female firefighter and the island station's youngest recruit.

She joins a team who live on Portland and have jobs in the community but are called away in an emergency to fight fires.

Jenny, 19, of Wakeham, hopes to join the service full-time but for now is getting plenty of experience as a retained firefighter.

And being the only woman on the team is no problem for Jenny.

She said: "The guys are all really nice, they're easy to get along with and we have a good laugh.

"There's a bit of pressure on me but I get a lot of support."

Jenny, who moved to Portland from Staffordshire six years ago, attended Royal Manor Arts College before embarking on a sports diploma at Weymouth College.

She now works as a gym assistant at the Portland Heights Hotel leisure centre, fulfilling the criteria of being within five minutes of the fire station in Grove Road.

She said: "My dad was a firefighter in Staffordshire but he's retired now.

"It's something I've thought about for a while and I decided to look into it more when I was at college. I think it would be a good career opportunity."

Portland firefighters deal with an average of 180 emergencies a year ranging from property fires and car crashes to animal rescues and vehicles alight, and Jenny has already had a taste of the action.

Station manager John Stone said Jenny had shown a positive and competent attitude and looks set to be an invaluable member of a team which includes a quarryman, engineers and self-employed builders.

He said: "There are female firefighters in Dorset Fire and Rescue Service but Jenny is the first on Portland, as well as our newest and youngest recruit.

"We're always looking for people to become retained firefighters. They obviously have to be the right sort of person for the job and have an understandable employer."

Anyone who is interested in becoming a retained firefighter and feels they can offer the dedication and skills needed can contact the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service on 01305 228957.