Eleven firefighters were officially welcomed into West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service yesterday (Thursday 14 December) at an outstanding Pass Out Parade attended by proud family members, friends, and future colleagues.
As part of the ceremony, each recruit was presented with a certificate to mark the successful completion of their training course. There was also a special award for Firefighter Joe Barkley, who was presented with a silver axe for his outstanding performance throughout the course.
The Pass Out Ceremony sees the culmination of a gruelling 14-week residential training course, undertaken at WSFRS’s in-house Training Centre at Horley Fire Station.
The recruits learned all of the skills they need to begin their careers as firefighters, including core ladder and hose skills, technical and water rescue and breathing apparatus training. They also successfully completed South East Coast Ambulance’s Immediate Emergency Care Responder course.
In addition, during their training the recruits completed an impressive fire engine pull for charity, hauling the 12-tonne truck around a four mile course in just 1 hour 20 minutes, and in the process raising more than £700 for The Fire Fighters Charity.
From the end of December the recruits will join their new crew mates on stations across West Sussex, starting the development phase of their careers as Community Firefighters.
Addressing the audience during the ceremony, WSFRS Chief Fire Officer Gavin Watts praised the efforts of everyone involved: “I’ve come to have high expectations of our Service’s Pass Out Parades over the last couple of years and I can honestly say that this ceremony went above and beyond.
“It is clear to see our new recruits have been provided with the best skills and knowledge available. They now head to their respective home stations ready to respond to emergencies, to provide education and safety awareness and to protect vulnerable people in their own homes.
“A huge thank you must go to our brilliant team of instructors and staff who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make not just this Pass Out Parade, but also the full training course, such a success. We welcome this talented set of recruits into the WSFRS family with open arms, we are lucky to call each and every one of them our own.”
Our new recruits:
• Alex Aylen, from Bognor Regis, will be joining his new watch in Chichester. Prior to joining the fire service Alex was a manager at a local Tesco store.
• Joe Barkley lives in Haywards Heath, he will initially work temporarily at Crawley. Joe used to work in the hospitality management industry but has proved himself an outstanding firefighter, earning the silver axe at his Pass Out Parade for his exceptional performance throughout training.
• Joseph Cullum is from West Wittering and will be initially serving temporarily at Horsham fire station. Joe is no stranger to the fire service having previously been a Fire Cadet in his youth and served within our Retained Duty Section for the last two years.
• James Drake, from Horsham, has been a member of our Retained Duty Section since 2010. James is joining us having previously worked for the Ambulance Service and will now be stationed at East Grinstead.
• Mark Figg lives in Chichester, where he has been a retained firefighter for the last seven years. Mark will be working with the crew at Shoreham fire station having previously worked in the Fire Service Research & Development department.
• Daniella Hodge will be joining her new watch at Chichester fire station. Daniella hails from Selsey and used to work as a bar manager before deciding to pursue her career as a firefighter.
• Bianca Kelly-Marques lives in Haywards Heath and will be based not far from home, at Burgess Hill. Bianca has worked in our Retained Duty Section since 2015 alongside her previous job as a beauty and make-up professional.
• Jack Magee, from Chichester, is a Mixed Martial Artist who runs his own MMA academy. Jack will initially work temporarily at Worthing.
• Victoria Mayne, from Goring-By-Sea, will also initially be temporarily based at Worthing. Vikki joins us from her previous role with an NHS Rapid Response Team.
• Steve Robinson lives in Upper Beeding and will be joining the crew at Burgess Hill, alongside Bianca. Steve has been a retained firefighter with us since 2016, he also runs his own kickboxing school and competes in motocross.
• Ashley Taylor, from Chichester, is following in his father’s footsteps by becoming a firefighter. Ashley will be based at Littlehampton fire station having previously worked as a chef in a Michelin starred restaurant.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is at the heart of West Sussex County Council's Communities and Public Protection Directorate, working to support communities to become safer, stronger and more resilient through a combination of prevention, protection and response activities.