New Year Honours List: Fareham fire service veteran Bob Ratcliffe wins award

Robert Ratcliffe
Robert Ratcliffe
The late Sir Bruce Forsyth

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THE now-retired assistant chief fire officer for the county has been recognised following a 34-year career.

Bob Ratcliffe, 57, from Fareham, retired from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in April.

During his career he worked in a number of stations, including being in charge of Cosham and Southsea fire stations.

His final years were spent at the service’s headquarters in Eastleigh and he led the investigation into the deaths of two colleagues in a fire at a block of flats in Southampton in April 2010.

He has been given the Queens Fire Service Medal which is given for distinguished service or gallantry.

Mr Ratcliffe said: ‘I’m very proud and very pleased.

‘It came as a real surprise to me.

‘I still don’t quite believe it at the moment.

‘The Shirley Towers investigation was a very testing time for the force and I take some satisfaction from making sure we learned lessons and shared information to make improvements to Hampshire Fire Service and across the UK.

‘We tried to do the best we could for the organisation and the families.’

Honoured with a CBE for services to fire safety is John Bonney who retires as chief officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service today.

Speaking about his retirement, Mr Bonney said: ‘2014 marks my 10th year as chief officer and, having served at the helm for a decade, I’ve decided it is now timely for me to step down from what is, by any measure, the best job in the British fire service.”

‘I am proud to have led a service populated throughout by people absolutely dedicated to what we do and who, as a matter of routine, go far beyond what is asked of them.

‘Most of all, it has been a privilege to lead this marvellous organisation, an organisation that has become one of the most respected and high performing services in the UK.’