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Fire Service holds Worcestershire Awards Ceremony

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During the evening, medals for Long Service and Good Conduct were presented by Michael Brinton, Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, as the Queen's representative, and also by Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates and Councillor Derek W Prodger MBE, Chairman of Hereford & Worcester Fire Authority. The High Sheriff of Worcestershire, Lady Rosalind Morrison, also attended the ceremony to present the High Sheriff's Award while George Sherry, Area Commander with H&WFRS, acted as Master of Ceremonies.

Long Service Good Conduct Medals for 20 years service were the first of the evening to be awarded and Lord Lieutenant Michael Brinton presented these to a total of three Firefighters, two Crew Commanders, two Station Commanders, and two Area Commanders.

These included Station Manager Gary Jay from Evesham, Firefighters Darren Greenwood and Andy Nash from Worcester, Crew Commander Keith Massam from Malvern, Firefighter Andrew Meacham from Bromsgrove, Crew Commander Phil Ball from Droitwich (Urban Search and Rescue) and Station Commander Phil Berry and Area Commanders John Hodges and Mark Preece, all based at Service Headquarters in Worcester.

A certificate for 20 years service was also presented to Christopher Orgee, a mechanic based at the Service's fleet workshops in Malvern.

Long Service Awards for 30 years service with H&WFRS were presented to Watch Commander Gary Bumfrey based at Upton, to retired Watch Commander Paul Fardon, now a Breathing Apparatus Maintenance Technician at fleet workshops in Malvern, and to retired Station Commander Stephen Fellows, now a Fire Safety Inspector based at Service Headquarters in Worcester.

Outstanding Service Medals were presented during the Awards Ceremony to three fire officers who have completed 35 years service.

This included Crew Commander Pete Yeomans, based at Worcester, Watch Commander Bob Morris from Redditch and Watch Commander Mick Rowlands from Bromsgrove.

Young Firefighter Megan Pugh, aged 16, who lives in Bromsgrove but attends the Droitwich branch of the Young Firefighters Association, was presented with the High Sheriff's Award after being chosen as this year's top Young Firefighter within Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Firefighter Steven Green from Malvern, meanwhile, was presented with the Ivor Owen Award. Ivor is a longstanding and valued friend of Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service who, keen to encourage the continued professional development of new recruits to the Service, awards a certificate and voucher each year to the top recruit from the last 12 months. The recipient will have demonstrated exemplary attributes throughout the duration of their Recruit Course and will have scored highly in all areas of their initial Fire and Rescue Service training.

A new award, the Community Safety Volunteer Award, was presented for the first time this year. It recognises the invaluable contribution made by individuals involved in H&WFRS's Volunteer Programme, which is now in its second year. Community Safety Volunteers support the Service across the two counties in a wide range of initiatives, including attendance at public community safety events, generating Home Fire Safety Check referrals and even acting as casualties during operational training exercises. Philippa Mills from Fladbury, near Pershore, was chosen as this year's Volunteer of the Year and CFO Mark Yates presented the award to her.

Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates also presented framed Certificate of Commendations to Mike Belcher from West Midlands Ambulance Service and to Inspector Sean Kent and Sergeant Phil Stayte from West Mercia Police. Mike Belcher was commended for rescuing a man from a smoke logged flat in Worcester last year and treating the man for the effects of smoke inhalation even though he was suffering the same effects himself. The two police officers, meanwhile, were recognised for the part they played in the rescue of a child from the River Avon in February 2010. The Chief Fire Officer's Commendations were awarded to both Police Officers and the Paramedic for the outstanding courage and bravery shown during the respective rescues.

Chief Fire Officer Mark Yates said: "We held separate awards ceremonies for Worcestershire and Herefordshire for the first time last year and this worked so well that we have repeated the format again this year, with a second awards ceremony planned in Hereford in November.

"Our staff and firefighters display exceptional talent and commitment to duty on a daily basis and it's only right that we celebrate their achievements in this way, with official recognition for their efforts.

"I am proud to lead a Service with such dedicated staff and I'd like to pass on my congratulations to everyone who received an award. I would also like to thank their families, whose support and understanding makes such a vital difference, but so often goes unnoticed."

He also praised Young Firefighter Megan Pugh and Community Safety Volunteer Philippa Mills for their involvement with the Service, and paid particular tribute to the Paramedic and Police Officers for their exceptional courage in particularly difficult circumstances.

He passed on his thanks to the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Mr Michael Brinton, the High Sheriff, Lady Rosalind Morrison, and Councillor W Prodger MBE, for presenting the awards, and also the other dignitaries for their support at the event.

The Awards Ceremony in Herefordshire will follow on the evening of Friday 4 November at Hereford Town Hall.