Firefighters receive long service medals at awards ceremony

Hfds Awards Vickress

Chief Fire Officer Jon Pryce has expressed his pride in HWFRS as he presented awards at the Herefordshire section of the annual Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service Medal and Awards Ceremony.

“I’m immensely proud to be here as Chief Fire Officer after two very challenging years,” he said. “I am also immensely proud of what we have been able to achieve during those two years.

The medals and awards were presented by Fire Authority chairman Councillor Kit Taylor, the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire Edward Harley OBE DL, the High Sheriff of Herefordshire Joanna Hilditch DL and CFO Pryce. Group Commander Gareth Clarke was the Master of Ceremonies.

The event was attended by the recipients, their friends and families, Paul Stevens the Mayor of Hereford and fire officers from HWFRS.

The Awards and Medals

The Fire Brigade’s Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

The honour is awarded by Her Majesty the Queen to those who have rendered 20 years’ meritorious service as members of the Fire Brigades of the United Kingdom. The award indicates the high esteem in which the recipient is held and expresses the gratitude of both the Fire and rescue Service and public for their honourable duty.

Seven recipients received the medal from the Lord Lieutenant and CFO Pryce:

  • FF Daniel Beard (Hereford)
  • FF Christian Hill (Ledbury)
  • FF Julian Jones (Hereford)
  • FF Stephen Lewis (Hereford)
  • FF Clair Merriman (Bromyard)
  • Crew Commander Paul Lane (Peterchurch)
  • Crew Commander Kevin Giles (Peterchurch)

Thirty Years’ Service Award

Presented to fire service staff who have completed 30 years’ meritorious service as members of the UK fire and rescue service.

The awards were presented by the chairman of the Fire Authority and the Chief Fire Officer to:

  • CC Michael Vickress (Leintwardine)
  • WC Neil Fowler (West District)
  • WC Simon Halling (Bromyard)

Forty Years’ Service Award

Presented to fire service staff who have completed 40 years’ meritorious service as members of the UK fire and rescue service.

The awards were presented by the chairman of the Fire Authority and the Chief Fire Officer to:

  • FF Gary Bumfrey (Upton-upon-Severn)
  • FF Andrew Davies (Kington)
  • WC David Vickress (Leintwardine)

The Silver Axe for the Top On-call Recruit of the Year

Presented to the top on-call firefighter recruit of the year for 2019-20, FF Luke Fisher of Peterchurch.

In announcing the award, which was presented by CFO Pryce, GC Clarke said: “Luke was an exemplary trainee in 2019-20.”

High Sheriff’s Award

This is usually presented to the Community Volunteer of the Year but, due to the volunteer team being stood down during the pandemic, this year it is received by the senior technicians from the Prevention team who have found alternative ways to provide support during this time.

This year the award was received by FF Pippa Jones on behalf of:

  • Caroline Webster
  • Jennifer Larkham
  • Charlotte Perkins

`Chief Fire Officer’s Certificate of Commendation

Awarded by the CFO to members of the Fire Service, partner agencies or the public for acts of bravery or performing to a high standard under difficult circumstances or above and beyond normal expectations.

This year the certificates were awarded to:

  • Sean Didlick
  • WC Alan Dixon
  • Philippa Dixon
  • FF Wayne Grech
  • Retired WC Simon Griffiths
  • Antony Lowther
  • Ayrton Lowther
  • Nigel Roper

Wayne Grech went above and beyond actions normally expected in the rescue of two persons stuck around 100m up a cliff in Malvern.

Sean Didlick helped a man who was threatening to jump from Greyfriars Bridge in Hereford, pulling the man away from danger until the emergency services were able to take over.

Alan Dixon and his wife Philippa found themselves at the scene of a serious RTC involving several vehicles and a number of casualties. Although Alan was off duty, he used his trauma skills to assist the injured and took charge of the incident until police and ambulance crews arrived. Philippa, meanwhile, helped to comfort some of those who had been injured in the incident and their relatives.

Nigel Roper, Antony and Ayrton Lowther acted bravely and selflessly to protect and save the life of a driver whose vehicle had left the road and fallen into deep water during the floods of February 2020.

Simon Griffiths has excelled in his chosen field and represented the Service in a professional manner at local, regional, national and world competitions organized by the UKRO and WRO, culminating in two first prizes at the recent UKRO competition in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Chairman’s Certificate of Commendation

Awarded by the Chairman of the Fire and Rescue Authority to members of the Service and members of the public for actions away from the operational arena.

This year the certificates were awarded to:

  • Heather Burley

Heather received the award for her outstanding contribution to and continuing work with both the CIST and Welfare Support teams.

In addition to the main Service awards, a number of other awards were made by the Fire Fighters Charity and these were presented by CFO Pryce and Debbie Rushbrooke, the charity’s community, corporate and events fundraiser.

The HWFRS Supporter of the Year award is presented to the person that has made the most significant individual contribution, through fundraising and/or volunteering their time in support of the charity’s activities.

The awards were:

  • FF Rob Purdie, 2019-20 runner-up
  • GC Stuart Crebbin, 2020-21 award – awarded posthumously and accepted by Stuart’s sister Samantha Vasey, supported by FF Spencer Jones
  • FF Spencer Jones, 2021-22 award

In addition, the charity made awards to the HWFRS Team Fundraiser of the year. These went to:

  • 2019-20 – Hereford Fire Station, accepted by FF Spencer Jones
  • 2020-21 – The Phoenix Challenge team of 40 accepted by FF Spencer Jones (team leader), FF Control Trevor Connolly, FF Mike Link, WC Steve Perks, Samantha Vasey and GC Phill Sanders.