THIS is the smoke-stained face of a quiet hero...

He is one of the dedicated volunteers with Oldham Mountain Rescue Team who have worked tirelessly to battle the Saddleworth moorland fires.

And the heroes of the hills took the unusual step of announcing on social media it was the birthday of one of their longest serving members.

Doctor Andrew Taylor was 71 on Friday and OMRT said: “We don’t normally post birthday messages on our team page, however we are making an exception for our beloved Doctor Taylor.

“Andy has just spent his 71st birthday battling the moorland fires with his team mates as well as colleagues from other emergency services.

“We’re sure you will all join us in wishing him a very Happy Birthday,” the post added.

But the message was picked up and circulated across the community with scores of well wishers posting complimentary birthday messages.

And how the doctor, who is also chair of Greenfield and Grasscroft Residents Association, actually spend the day?

He said: “Friday was the only day that I didn’t actually end up firefighting at one extreme or other of the fire.

“Nominally despatched on those days to “spot” and report on crews and new fires we would end up somewhere where there was fire and no fire crew.

“Friday was a liaison drive over with Fire Command at Higher Swineshaw and then a drive back over the moorland edge tracks in a borrowed Polaris, checking on hotspots.”

But he added: “Saturday was back to putting small peripheral blazes out.”

You can send a belated birthday message to Doctor Taylor via Oldham Mountain Rescue Team’s