Fire service staff and firefighters from across Northumberland have been recognised at an awards ceremony at Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) headquarters at West Hartford.
Seven firefighters received long service and good conduct medals, which were presented by the High Sheriff of Northumberland, John Carr-Ellison.
Medals went to Keith Carmichael, crew manager at Ponteland (21 years); George Gordon, firefighter at Berwick (23 years); Richard Leighton, watch manager at Berwick (24 years); Craig Mole, crew manager at Pegswood (20 years); Guy Tiffin, watch manager at Hexham (22 years); John Wilkinson, firefighter at Hexham (27 years); and Elizabeth Wright, fire control watch manager (21 years).
Two members of corporate personnel were awarded chief fire officer’s service awards; Ron Wright for 35 years’ service with NFRS and Ian Clough for 33 years’ service, 17 of which have been with NFRS.
Chief fire officer’s bravery awards went to firefighter Lindsay Bowling-Mowatt and also to Green Watch from West Hartford. Lindsay Bowling Mowatt tackled a fire in sand dunes at Druridge Bay in July 2013, bringing the fire under control and making the area safe. Green Watch at West Hartford demonstrated exceptional bravery, skills and outstanding team work when dealing with a serious house fire in Bedlington in July 2013.
The bravery awards were presented by Cllr Kathy Graham, Northumberland County Council’s Civic Head.
The Northumbria Police award was made to Bruce Black from Berwick Blue Watch. Bruce assisted in bringing a man to safety from the Royal Border Bridge in June 2014, and received his award from the Chief Superintendent Gordon Millward from Northumbria Police.
The chief fire officer’s certificate of commendation was awarded to David Dixon, a retained firefighter from Haltwhistle. In May 2013 David spotted a fire while out walking his dogs, broke into the home and pulled the resident to safety. This brave act has also been recognised with a Flame Award from the International Fire and Rescue Service at a ceremony in London earlier in 2014.
A chief fire officer’s certificate of recognition was awarded to Eric Fail, who is a coach at NFRS’s boxing academy at West Hartford. Eric is one of the coaches at the club but also goes the extra mile by actively promoting the club, raising invaluable funds and is always a willing volunteer whenever there is a shortage of support.
Chief fire officer’s certificates of achievement were awarded to young employees Bethany Cross and Conor Reed who both started work with the service as apprentices.
Beth works in the community safety department, where she has made significant contributions to the work there. She has also won the regional Prince’s Trust ‘flying start’ category and was a national finalist in its celebrate success awards.
Conor also started work in the community safety department and worked in the HR and L&D sections before becoming a permanent member of staff. Conor won a regional award as advanced apprentice of the year, and is also training as a retained firefighter.
Conor and Beth were presented with their awards by Cllr Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council and policy board member responsible for the fire and rescue service.
The chief fire officer’s partnership award marked the partnership which NFRS has with Marks and Spencer in Morpeth. The store and staff have supported the Firefighters’ Charity by nominating it as their Charity of the Year and raising the exceptional amount of £9,271 for the fund.
In addition to the awards the fire service has also run a fire safety poster competition with local primary school Northburn, in Cramlington. Four young winners came to fire HQ to be presented with gift vouchers and framed copied of their artwork. Their posters have been enlarged and are on display in the fire HQ building.
After the awards Alex Bennett, chief fire officer at Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service said: “It was a real pleasure to see so many of our dedicated firefighters receive their long service and good conduct awards at the ceremony.
“Our biggest asset is our people and I am very privileged to lead such a fantastic team. I am very proud of everyone, not only firefighters and all fire service staff, but also young firefighters, the boxing club, volunteers and apprentices past and present.”
Councillor Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council and policy board member responsible for the fire and rescue service, said: “I felt very privileged to be able to be part of this event which recognises and celebrates the hard work and dedication of our firefighters, fire service staff, partners and important volunteers who all make sure a huge contribution to the excellent service provided.”
Recipients of long services and good conduct awards are nominated by the chief fire officer and the honour is bestowed on them by Her Majesty the Queen in accordance with a Royal Warrant.