Firefighters recognised at Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service Awards!

The Special Award recipient, Alan Holder

An officer who has dedicated over five decades of his life to the Fire and Rescue Service has been formally recognised at Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service’s Long Service Awards.

Alan Holder began his career in 1966, the same year as England was celebrating winning the world cup. Although retiring from operational duty in September 2000, Alan’s passion led him to apply for a role in the Services Training and Development Centre where he has been instrumental in the design of assessor awards. He has worked tirelessly to build new development processes aimed at assisting retained firefighter recruits into the service. This has had a huge impact on the way in which retained firefighters are trained and has received interest from fire and rescue services on a national level.

Long Service Awards: Graham Beck, Denise Brewer, Dawn Roodhouse, Keith Jenkins, Robert Barry, Christopher Thompson

The evening also saw the presentation of the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (which is awarded to members of the Fire and Rescue Service who have completed 20 years’ operational service and have demonstrated, during this period, their good conduct, loyalty and devotion to duty), The Community Achievement Award, Community Support Award and The Special Award.

Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service Chief Fire Officer, Andy Hickmott said: “It was a real privilege as the Chief Fire Officer to be able to present Alan with his award for over five decades of service, dedicated to protecting our local communities. The time Alan has given to the Service is not something that I have had the pleasure of honouring before, it really is an achievement to be proud of. It was also an honour to recognise those staff that have completed 20 years’ meritorious service or have gone above and beyond the call of duty to keep their communities safe. As always, the ceremony provided me with a great opportunity to personally thank officers for their commitment and dedication to the service and to the communities they serve.”

Talking about the evening, Chairman of Warwickshire County Council, Councillor Clive Rickhards said: “

I would like to personally congratulate all those who received awards at the ceremony from operational firefighters, to PCSO’s to our support staff. What brings all of these people together is their drive to make a real difference to the communities of Warwickshire. The stories I heard last night of officers going the extra mile to reduce arson, increase the health and well-being of our young people and of firefighters being on the front line, risking their lives to save others, was a truly humbling experience. It was a pleasure to be part of the event!”

The awards were as follows:

Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal – presented by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Mr Timothy Cox.

Firefighter, Robert Barry – Coleshill Fire Station

Firefighter, Graham Beck – Studley Fire Station

Firefighter, Denise Brewer – Rugby Fire Station

Firefighter, Keith Jenkins – Southam Fire Station

Crew Commander, Paul Jones – Nuneaton Fire Station

Firefighter, Dawn Roodhouse – Nuneaton Fire Station

Station Commander, Christopher Thompson – Leamington Fire Station (HQ)

Community Achievement Awards – presented by Mr Mark Davies, the High Sheriff of Warwickshire.

Claire Wooldridge, Rachel Streeting, Rebecca Roberts, Steve Sample, Niky Moultrie, Daryl Townsend

Community Achievement Awards were presented to colleagues in Warwickshire Police for their exceptional work in supporting Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service’s arson reduction programme.

The first recipient was Police Community Support Officer Steve Sample. Steve has supported the Anti-Social Behaviour Intervention Team (ASBIT) scheme, based in Warwick and Leamington since its inception. His enthusiasm and engagement with young people is outstanding and he makes it his mission to engage with every young person identified through the ASBIT scheme.

The second award went to Police and Community Support Officer Sue Laing for her continued enthusiasm and dedication to supporting the Bicycle Intervention Knowledge and Education (known as the BIKE) team, based in Nuneaton. Sue takes every opportunity to work with the team and is a valuable asset in our programme to engage with young people.

The next award in this category was presented to Niky Moultrie, a member of WFRS staff. Niky was presented with her award for leading on the introduction of one of our newest life-saving initiatives, known as the Heartshield project. In partnership with Public Health, Niky pioneered a new education programme for schools that teaches children how to resuscitate a victim of a cardiac arrest as well as teach various healthy living habits to the young people themselves. To date over 1,000 children have taken part in the programme.

The next award was presented to Rebecca Roberts. Rebecca joined Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service just two years ago, but has quickly become a very well-known and highly valued member of the Service leading our Arson reduction team based with partner agencies at the Nuneaton Justice Centre. Rebecca has helped to develop our work in arson reduction and related community engagement with both the public and partners alike, contributing hugely to reducing and managing out arson and all of the damage and impact that it can have.

Awards were then presented to Firefighters Rachel Streeting and Claire Wooldridge. For many years both Rachel and Claire have worked tirelessly to organise the Nuneaton Fire Station’s open day, which is held on the same Saturday each summer. In addition they have both played a leading local role in the leadership of The Fire Fighters Charity, which provides much needed recovery and rehabilitation support to firefighters or their immediate family who become injured or ill. The Nuneaton Open Day directly supports the charity financially and has also become one of the most well-known and popular annual events in Nuneaton town centre each year.

The next award was presented to Watch Commander, Daryl Townsend for his work in developing a new initiative in which firefighters attend medical emergencies to support – or “co-respond” with the ambulance service, particularly in areas where fire crews will usually be able to attend incidents quicker than the nearest ambulance. Working with West Midlands Ambulance Service, (a lot of hours in his own time) Daryl has helped to develop this capability from Southam Fire Station. Since going live on 28 April 2017, the Station has already attended 56 medical emergencies, saving and protecting the lives of their local community.

Steve Rule, Richard Healy, Roland Bayley, Adrian Eyden-Wood

The final award in this section went to Rugby Fire Station in recognition of their pro-active approach to community safety initiatives, which have had a positive impact across the whole county. The main initiative was the prevention of water related incidents across the county. Their work on drowning prevention was featured on BBC Midlands Today and the crews then went on to produce a number of informative videos in their own time to help raise awareness of the dangers of swimming in open water.

These films were shown on our social media sites and have been viewed and shared many times. Their initiative ultimately resulted in the Service making contact with the Royal Life Saving Society and we are now working with them to create a Water Safety Partnership for Warwickshire.

Their second initiative was to tackle an issue our firefighters have increasingly been faced with over the years, the problem of inappropriately parked vehicles when responding to emergency incidents.

Blue Watch took the initiative to come up with a solution and worked with our Community Safety and Marketing and Communications team to create a new approach to raising awareness through the development and launch of the ‘Park it Right’ campaign.

The common image of the fire rescue service is firefighters turning out in fire engines to fight fires. However, the role of the modern community firefighter reflects the new demands made on the service and these are just two examples of the wide range of work that our crews carry out to keep the public safe.

Kate Butler, Huw Lewis, Keith Jenkins

Community Support Award – This year the awards recognise those businesses where the owners are themselves also firefighters. This is a break from tradition, but rightfully so, as they have each in their own way supported the Service, just as any other primary employer.

Indeed their commitment as retained firefighters too, means that what they achieve is doubly impressive and so doubly deserving of our thanks and recognition.

Chairman of Warwickshire County Council, Councillor Clive Rickhards presented the awards.

Silver Community Support Award – Crew Commander, Huw Lewis

Crew Commander, Huw Lewis began his fire service career with Hereford and Worcester Fire Service covering Pebworth Fire Station, whilst working at a local garage. He quickly recognised the value of the contribution he was able to make to the community as a retained firefighter and decided to apply to Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service, so that he could respond from his home address in the evenings. He joined Bidford Fire Station in 2002 where he has been based ever since. Huw has been responding from his own business, Bidford MOTs, since it was established in 2007. Huw’s customers are aware that he is a firefighter, so if his pager activates whilst he is in the middle of on MOT test, they know he’ll be back soon…

Gold Community Support Award – Watch Commander, Kate Stevens

Watch Commander, Kate Stevens has been responding from her mobile hairdressing business since she joined Warwickshire as a firefighter at Henley in Arden Fire Station in 1999. Kate has worked tirelessly to fit in her firefighting commitments alongside running her own business and her love of horses, which also takes up a big part of her life.

Community Support Award for Outstanding Contribution

Firefighter Keith Jenkins has been responding from his business in Southam town centre, Rockinghams Cycle Shop, since he joined Warwickshire as a retained firefighter at Southam Fire Station in 1996. Keith plans his work around himself, his wife and a part-time member of staff; and between them they keep the business running if Keith is called out. The shop is open six days a week and Keith provides cover during nearly all of that.

The final award of the evening, The Special Award, was presented to Alan Holder by the Chief Fire Officer Andy Hickmott, to recognise over five decades of service dedicated to protecting the communities of Warwickshire.

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This story covers the following places in and around Warwickshire: