Former High Sheriff’s high praise for West Sussex Record Office and fire service

The two organisations are to be awarded Certificates of Commendation from the High Sheriff to reward ‘unsung heroes’


Release date: 16 April 2020

The West Sussex Record Office and West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s FireBreak and Safe Drive Stay Alive initiatives have been honoured by the former High Sheriff of West Sussex, Davina Irwin-Clark, for their services to the community.

The two organisations are to be awarded Certificates of Commendation from the High Sheriff to reward ‘unsung heroes’ who receive little recognition in their day-to-day jobs.

They also highlight the valuable work and effort that these areas do every day for the community and the county.

Earlier in the year, Davina Irwin-Clark had a tour around the Record Office to see for herself the work they do.

Wendy Walker, West Sussex County Archivist, said: “We feel so privileged that the former High Sheriff chose the Record Office to receive one of her awards this year. It was such a pleasure to show her around so that she could meet all of the staff and see the work that we do to preserve the rich heritage of West Sussex and make it accessible for everyone to see. With more than eight miles of records and documents dating back over 1,200 years there is something in our collections for everyone. 

“We work with local communities across the county to help them preserve and engage with their heritage. Staff here take great pride in what they do and this award recognises their commitment and hard work. It is also a testament to all of our volunteers who contribute so much in helping us to open up the archives for people to see.”

Nicki Peddle, West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention, whose teams deliver Safe Drive Stay Alive and FireBreak, said: “It is incredibly humbling to be honoured by the former High Sheriff for the work we carry out with young people in our communities.

“Since 2006, Safe Drive stay Alive has reached more than 112,000 students, giving them valuable insight on how they can be safer when using our roads. We know it has a lasting impact on the students who attend.

“FireBreak is a fantastic opportunity for young people to learn more about our fire and rescue service, while improving skills such as teamwork, discipline and self-confidence, which are all incredibly valuable in day-to-day life.

“It is a real honour for our staff, volunteers and partners who deliver these two valuable programmes to be recognised, and I know the award will have come as a surprise, as to them this is just part of what they do every day to help keep the residents of West Sussex safe.”

This year, the former High Sheriff of West Sussex decided to present 12 awards, nine of them to charities and the three to West Sussex County Council operated services.

Mrs Davina Irwin-Clark, former High Sheriff of West Sussex, said: “I found my visit to the West Sussex Record Office absolutely fascinating and I am delighted to be able to give this encouragement to the work being undertaken there, which is of such significance both locally and internationally.

“I have also been fortunate enough to have attended many FireBreak pass-out ceremonies at various fire stations around the county, and the message I hear loud and clear each time is just how rewarding all of the young people have found the experience. I know that an awful lot of hard work goes into organising these courses, as with the incredibly important Safe Drive Stay Alive course too, and so this is my way of saying a big thank you to all of those working away behind the scenes to bring it all to life.

“The current Covid-19 situation will have had a big impact on both services, but I am confident they will both bounce back strongly and continue their great work when life returns to normal.”

Mrs Davina Irwin-Clark was High Sheriff of West Sussex in 2019/20. She has now been succeeded by Dr. Tim Fooks.

Find out more online about the West Sussex Record Office, Safe Drive Stay Alive and FireBreak

NB: Following the latest Government advice to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), the West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard St, Chichester, PO19 1DD is closed until further notice.

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