From firefighters to volunteers, schemes to groups, scores were recognised at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Celebrating Success awards. Reporter Priya Mistry takes a look at the winners from the night.
Dedicated and hardworking staff who put themselves in the line of danger every day – and some of their staunchest supporters – have been recognised at an awards ceremony.
Each year Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service holds its Celebrating Success awards.
The service’s chief officer John Bonney, who is due to retire at the end of this year, says: ‘I firmly believe that our people are our strength.
‘I feel very proud to celebrate and recognise the achievements of so many members of staff and partners.
‘This is an opportunity for us to reflect upon the fantastic achievements not only of our own staff, but also the amazing support we receive from others outside the fire service.
‘The evening celebrates our professionalism as a service and the motivation and drive that enables our people to provide the highly-effective public service we deliver for the people of the county.’
Awards were given for long service, which included three people from this area.
Gary Cross from Fareham fire station, Sean White, who started in Gosport, and Andy Earl, who has worked in stations across south-east Hampshire, were recognised after 25 years of service.
There were also winners for individual categories.
Tracy Smith, who works at the Asda store in Fratton took the Charity Award for her work with Southsea fire station.
And the Hambledon Flood Action Group was the winner in the Community Award for its proactive work to protect the village from flood damage.
Short-listed in the Chief Officer’s Special Recognition Award was the arson task force and Hampshire Constabulary.
It relates to the work done by both organisations when a woman set fire to the Fareham home her partner was asleep in.
Earlier this year Karen Lyle, 50, was found guilty of attempted murder.
She had drugged her husband with an antidepressants, before setting him on fire at the home in Highlands Road.
During investigations, the fire service’s search dog Millie indicated that there was an ignitable liquid on the bed.
The police discovered the householder had been drugged before the attack.
As a result Mrs Lyle was jailed for 22 years.
Below and to the right are closer looks at those who won an award.
Extending charity work
FUNDRAISING Tracy Smith won the Charity Award at the ceremony.
Southsea fire station has used the Asda store in Fratton as a venue for its charity car washes.
Tracy, who works at the store, has helped raise money for various causes, including The Fire Fighters Charity, Naomi House and Tickled Pink, as well as supporting school sporting events and feeding the homeless.
A spokesman for the fire service said: ‘The service is very grateful for the support that Tracy, and her employers at Asda provide, it’s clear this extends way beyond the fire service.’
Recognition for service
GARY Cross joined the service in September 1988 as a retained firefighter in Waterlooville.
He then became full-time in April 1991, serving at the now closed Copnor fire station, and finally in Fareham.
Gary was awarded bursaries from the Fleur Lombard Memorial Trust and Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which allowed him to study trauma and extrication in South Africa in 2004, and swift water rescue in the United States in 2006.
In 2006 Gary joined the service’s extrication and trauma care teams as a medic, and has competed at both regional and national rescue challenges.
Joint ambulance work
THE fire service runs a programme with South Central Ambulance Service to reach medical patients quickly.
This scheme won The Partnership Award.
Co-responders are Hampshire firefighters who have an enhanced level of medical training in basic life support and in the use of defibrillators and medical gasses, which enables them to respond to medical emergencies before an ambulance arrives.
The scheme has been in place in Hampshire since 2004 and is now nationally recognised as the gold standard of co-responding schemes within the UK.
Flood group awarded
THE Community Award was given to the Hambledon Flood Action Group.
It was formed to deal with flooding in the village, and really came into its own during the flooding earlier this year.
A spokesman for the fire service said: ‘Strong community spirit and collaborative working as part of a multi-agency approach, has allowed lessons to be learnt and improvements to be made by both the community and responding agencies.
‘The successful efforts of the Flood Action Group have reduced the impact on the community, reduced the cost of repairs to properties and lessened service demand.’
Thank you to family
Andy Earl joined the service as a retained firefighter in 1989 at West End and then moved to Portchester fire station.
In 1990 he joined as a full-time firefighter and was based at Eastleigh, the now-closed Copnor station and Cosham.
He then became watch manager within the Hampshire Arson Task Force where he conducts fire and explosion investigations and is handler to fire investigation search dog Millie.
Andy thanked his wife Julie and children Sarah and James for their support.
Honoured at ceremony
MORE than two decades ago, Sean White joined Hampshire and Fire Rescue Service.
He started his career 25 years ago, in April 1989 in Gosport fire station.
He started off as a retained firefighter.
He then joined the training department of the fire service in 2002.
Mr White now works as an assistant fire investigator.
He is also a fire investigation search dog handler.
To recognise his hard and loyal work, Mr White was handed a certificate and lapel badge to commend his 25 years with the team and the fire service.