County council and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service staff receive mentions in latest honours list

Dedication and service recognised in King's Birthday Honours List

Pictured, left: Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (picture by The Duke of Edinburgh's Award / Ian Smithers) and, right, School Crossing Patrol officer Mary Nye (picture by Darren Cool)

Release date: 17 June, 2024

Three members of West Sussex County Council and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service staff have been mentioned in the latest honours list.

Chief Fire Officer awarded medal from the King for distinguished service:

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, has been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours for her commitment to the fire and rescue service.

Sabrina has received the King’s Fire Service Medal which is awarded for distinguished service or gallantry.

“I am absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious award. I am extremely proud to serve within the fire and rescue sector and being awarded for a job that I have genuinely loved doing for the last 23 years is a huge honour and a really special moment”, Sabrina said. 

Sabrina has had a varied and dutiful career, having joined South Wales Fire and Rescue Service as an 18-year-old firefighter in September 2001. During this time she became a Station Manager and was the project lead for Young Dragons, a partnership of Uniformed Youth Groups, of which HRH King Charles III (then The Prince of Wales) was the patron. She later took a secondment to the Welsh Government as the Assistant Fire and Rescue Advisor.

In 2015 Sabrina was appointed as a Deputy Assistant Commissioner in London Fire Brigade. She was also seconded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services as Chief of Staff and Inspection Development Lead. She briefly joined Surrey Fire and Rescue Service as the interim Deputy Chief Fire Officer before being appointed as the Chief Fire Officer here in West Sussex in 2019.

Cllr Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “This award is hard earned, thoroughly deserved and a testament the dedicated work that Sabrina has carried out over the past two decades. I am pleased that Sabrina’s achievements have been formally recognised in the shape of the King’s Fire Service Medal and on behalf of the County Council, I congratulate Sabrina for receiving this honour.”

Sabrina, throughout her career, has been a commander at several significant incidents, including the Westminster Bridge Terror Attack, Finsbury Park Terror attack and the aftermath of Grenfell Tower.

Today Sabrina serves as the National Fire Chief’s Council Improvement Chair and National Lead for Working Dogs, alongside her role as Chief Fire Officer. She is also an ambassador for a number of international organisations, including Homewards (a program founded by Prince William and the Royal Foundation aimed at ending homelessness), The Big Issue, and StreetVet.

Mary Nye's extraordinary service to the community and road safety recognised in King’s Birthday Honours:

We highlighted Mary Nye’s amazing 50 years’ service as a West Sussex County Council School Crossing Patrol officer last summer  and were delighted to learn that Mary has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the King’s Birthday Honours List.

Mary, 90, has now given 51 years’ service as a School Crossing Patrol. She said: “This is truly fabulous news. I love being there for the children and the community.

“I have accepted the honour not just for myself, but on behalf of all the School Crossing Patrols in West Sussex who care so much about the schoolchildren that they are willing to go out in all weathers to see them safely across the road. I know some of my colleagues have given 20, 30 and 40 years’ service, so this is for them, too, and will hopefully inspire people who have just started in their roles as School Crossing Patrols, or want to join us.”

Anyone interested in becoming a School Crossing Patrol officer can find out more on our website

Mary was nominated for the Royal honour by her line manager, Sonia Barber. Sonia said: “I nominated Mary because of her unwavering dedication to the safety of children travelling to and from school. Her vigilant presence ensures that every child crosses safely, and she is always attentive: waiting for those who have been delayed and haven't yet crossed the road demonstrates a deep sense of responsibility and care.

“Mary's commitment to this important role spans more than 50 years, and she continues to serve the community with the same dedication into her 90s. Her extraordinary devotion to the well-being of the community is truly commendable. It is an honour to recognise Mary for her exceptional contribution and to celebrate her remarkable journey of service.”

Cllr Joy Dennis, County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “I had the privilege of meeting Mary last summer when I visited Holbrook Primary School in Horsham to celebrate her extraordinary 50 years’ service. I was immediately struck by Mary’s enthusiasm for the role and her dedication to the children and families she sees safely across the road during term time. Our School Crossing Patrols perform a vital role in our communities and my thanks go to them all.”

Mr Ian Holmes, Head Teacher at Holbrook Primary School in Horsham, said: “Since the Holbrook school opened in 1992, Mary has been helping children safely cross North Heath road. In fact, she has done her duty in all sorts of weather and conditions for West Sussex County Council since 1973.  She is a lovely lady, friendly and always has a smile on her face. Generations of children, parents and school staff are thankful to Mary for her amazing service and we have got families here with three generations who have been helped by Mary.

“Few people can say that they have served their local community for over 50 years and made such a valuable contribution to keeping children and families safe.”

He said Mary was “an inspiration to us all”.  “She fully deserves this moment of celebration: thank you, from the children, parents and staff – everyone at Holbrook school.”

Assistant Director (Communities) awarded MBE:

Also Mentioned in the honours list was Emily King, West Sussex County Council’s Assistant Director (Communities), who received an MBE for her work and support for communities. Emily who has been with WSCC for over 20 years, said: “I am incredibly proud to have been mentioned in the honours list.”

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