IT WAS a night to celebrate our firefighting heroes.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service held its annual Celebrating Success awards in Netley last night. Firefighters picked up honours for long service, as well as winning categories.
Watch manager Martin Earl, of Cosham fire station, has been with the service for 25 years.
He said: ‘My dad was a firefighter and my older brother went into it, so it was something I always wanted to do.
‘When I joined it was a job you did for your whole career – it’s a bit different now. I’m happy to have done the years I have and there’s been many memories.
‘One of the biggest jobs I remember is the Spa Form fire in Farlington. And as for rescuing cats from trees – I haven’t done that but I have rescued them from chimneys.’
It’s great to win, but the fundraising I do isn’t done single-handedly so I want to say thank you to everyone that helps me.Watch manager Craig Sadler
Simon Lovelock was given a badge for 20 years’ service.
He said: ‘I was working at a garage in Portchester and a postman that was a retained firefighter used to come in.
‘I asked what his pager would go off for and he told me and asked if I would sign up. The rest you would say is history.
‘What I enjoy most about this job is no two days are the same and you don’t know what you will get called out too.’
Watch manager Craig Sadler picked up an award to recognise the fundraising work he has done for charity. He said: ‘It’s great to win, but the fundraising I do isn’t done single-handedly so I want to say thank you to everyone that helps me.
‘If you can give your time for a cause then it’s a good thing to do.’
Those who picked up an award from the Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire area were:
n Crew manager Simon Lovelock, Portchester and Southsea fire stations, 20 years’ service.
n Firefighter Mark Allen, Cosham fire station, 25 years’ service.
n Watch manager Martin Earl, Cosham fire station, 25 years’ service.
n Firefighter Geoffrey Baker, Portchester fire station, 30 years’ service.
n Paul Mitchell, retired from Portchester fire station, 30 years’ service.
n Firefighter Stephen Baker, Havant fire station, 35 years’ service.
n Christopher Stocks, fire safety support, Fareham, 40 years’ service.
n Alan Fryer, community safety, Fareham, 40 years’ service.
n Alan Hammond, fire safety support, Fareham, 50 years’ service.
n Watch manager Craig Sadler, winner of the Charity Award.