Release date: 10 September 2019
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service held its annual awards ceremony on Monday night, which celebrated long service, dedication and commitment to the community.
The fleet team and a volunteer were among those who were recognised this year, alongside both wholetime and retained (on-call) firefighters.
Chief Fire Officer, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, said: “It was an absolute honour to celebrate the very best of West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and the people who make it what it is.
“The most crucial part of any fire and rescue service is its people. Without them, we are just empty fire stations and untouched equipment.”
She also took the opportunity to give thanks to the immediate families of those receiving awards and commendations for the support they give, adding: “It is impossible to have a long career in the fire and rescue service without the support of family and friends. I would like to thank you for every family event that you’ve sacrificed, for every birthday together that you’ve missed, for every Christmas dinner that you’ve had at odd times of the day because duty called.”
Monday night’s event was held at Arundel Castle and was sponsored by Gatwick Airport.
The Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper, presented the Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal and the Chief Fire Officer presented the Commendation Awards.
Poignantly, a new award was presented last night in memory of Haywards Heath Crew Manager Mark Butler, who died earlier this year, for the Charity Champion of the Year. Mark served with WSFRS for 37 years, and was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award prior to his death.
The Team of the Year award was presented in memory of Simon Constable, Watch Manager at Crawley Fire Station, who died earlier this year having served for 29 years with WSFRS.
Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Fire and Rescue and Communities, said: “It was both humbling and an honour to attend our Fire and Rescue awards ceremony in such a special and very fitting location in order to express both our gratitude and acknowledge the lifelong, personal sacrifice and dedication to duty of our fire service personnel.
"It was heart-warming to listen to many poignant anecdotes relating to award winners and particularly touching to witness the rightful recognition given posthumously to Mark Butler and Simon Constable through the Charity Champion of the Year and Team of the Year award.”
Long Service and Good Conduct Medals are awarded to firefighters who have completed two decades of outstanding service to their community. Recipients of this medal were:
- Simon Apps, Petworth.
- Mark Bateman, Selsey.
- Peter Bishop, Crawley.
- Julian Bridgman, Crawley.
- Lee Burridge, Crawley.
- Gareth Evans, Crawley.
- Martin Gray, Worthing.
- Suzanne Goff, Chichester.
- Steve Gwynn, Burgess Hill.
- Mark Green, Littlehampton.
- Nigel Kipping, Worthing.
- Steve Mayes, Storrington.
- Nick Myerscough, Arundel.
- Janine Nicholls, Shoreham.
- Andrew (Nick) Parsons.
- Andrew Phillips, Bognor.
- Phil Pitham, Selsey.
- Richard Poole, Steyning.
- Eddie Preece, Shoreham.
- Liberatto Venditto, Worthing.
- Simon Woodland, Bognor Regis.
The Meritorious Medal and Certificate is presented by the Chief Fire Officer to those that have completed 40 years’ service.
- Richard Bond.
- Nick Hedley, Partridge Green.
Chief Fire Officer Commendation Awards were presented to individuals and teams who were nominated for going above and beyond the call of duty. The award winners were:
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Mark Butler.
- The Rob Mapley Shining Star Award: Simon Boyling.
- The Parham House Award sponsored by Lady Emma Barnard: Lee Aggett.
- Team of the Year Award in memory of Simon Constable: County Fleet Management.
- Volunteer of the Year Award: Richard Mattock.
- Charity Champion Award in memory of Mark Butler: East Grinstead Fire Station.