Long Service and Good Conduct Medals have been presented to 11 Shropshire firefighters and a member of the support staff at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service by the Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire after completing 20 years service.
“They have dedicated their lives to assisting Shropshire people and on behalf of them I want to thank you very sincerely. You have never let us down when turning out to homes, rivers or car crashes. When we need help, you will be there,” said Algernon Heber-Percy.
Chief Fire Officer Paul Raymond said at the awards ceremony held last night (wed) at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn that the service had worked together to face challenging times. The Shropshire brigade was now smaller and had cut its budget by £4 million.
But jobs had been protected and fire stations kept open with the help of the people of Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin who had “dug in their pockets” to give extra funding to Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“We want to give the best possible service to our towns and villages”, said Mr Raymond, who added that they could now do that with the extra funding.
Fire authority chairman Stuart West presented miniature medals to husbands, wives and partners and thanked them for their valuable support which was an important contribution to the brigade.
“The job of a firefighter is very hazardous. The job means that a firefighter runs towards an emergency when any sensible person is running in the opposite direction,” he said.
Receiving their Long Service and Good Conduct medals were Andy Johnson, Andy Perry, Paul Fulgoni, Louise Derricutt, and John Robinson, all from Shrewsbury. Gareth McClean, Darren Sands, Tony Talbot, and Adam Tempest, from Telford. Alan Walker, from Oswestry, and Christopher Morris and Martin Jones, from south Shropshire.
Receiving their Long Service and Good Conduct medals from Shrewsbury were: A former fire laboratory technician whose job involved “setting fire to things” and who has risen through the ranks at the Shropshire brigade where he has been responsible for managing Shropshire’s 23 fire stations.
Head of Operational Planning, Andy Johnson began his firefighting career in 1991 when his first night’s duty with Blue Watch in Telford led them to deal with a tragic fire involving the death of a mother and her two children.
He worked at both Telford and Shrewsbury fire stations before becoming an Incident Commander, Assistant Divisional Officer, Area Manager and head of Risk Management and Area Command.
Andy Perry, who began his career at Telford Central Fire Station, was promoted to Leading Firefighter and to Sub Officer before working in Community Fire Safety and then being promoted to Station Officer.
In less than a year, he was promoted to Assistant Divisional Officer and then Area Manager and is currently Head of People Development and Safety.
He is married to Jane and they have 2 children, Rachel (20) and Shaun (18).
Watch Manager Paul Fulgoni works in business fire safety at Shrewsbury fire HQ after being a Sub Officer on White Watch in Shrewsbury for eight years. He has also worked at fire stations in Telford and Wellington.
Paul is married to Susan and they have 4 children, daughters Saffron (15 years), Rebecca (15 years), Neve (13 years) and 4 year old son, Jacub.
The majority of his leisure time is spent enjoying family pursuits, canoeing and boating.
Louise Derricutt began her career as an administration officer in the Fire Safety department before promotion to Fire Safety Technical Officer and working as an inspecting officer.
She has worked on the False Alarm Reduction Team at Telford Fire Station before returning to Shrewsbury on the move to the new headquarters building.
She has supported non-uniform staff as a representative of UNISON since 1999.
Louise is married to Tony and they have three daughters; Frances (13 years), Rachel (11 years) and 9 year old Lucy. She is secretary of Market Drayton Swimming Club, where all 3 girls swim. The children’s other extra curricular activities mean Louise is seldom at home. She is a keen dressmaker and likes to read but rarely has the time to do either!
John Robinson, who got married the day after joining the service – and leaving home for three months’ basic training, has served on Green, Red and Blue Watch in Shrewsbury.
John has steadily built up his experience and skills to encompass nearly everything that can be expected of an operational firefighter - including rescuing a Shetland pony called Santa from flood waters. Married to Linda, the couple have two sons, Matt (18) Sam (15).
He enjoys many outdoor activities and over the years has tried his hand at paragliding, paramotoring, coasteering and potholing.
More recently, together with Linda and the boys, he has rekindled a love for the sea; camping around the coasts of England and Wales, surfing and beach combing. Alternatively, he can sometimes be found having a peaceful paddle down the Severn searching for an elusive otter or two.
Telford: Gareth Maxwell McClean joined West Midlands Fire Service on 7 January 1991 and served on Red Watch, Smethwick. He received a Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation in 2001 for the rescue of a male passenger trapped in a car fire on the M5 motorway.
He transferred to Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service in August 2005 joining White Watch Telford, where he continues to serve until the present day.
Gareth is married to Jane and they have 3 children; Josh (13 years), Jake (10 years) and daughter Amelia (7 years).
Darren Sands joined Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service on 5 November 1991 as part of the new Retained crew at Wellington Fire Station. He is one of only 2 left from the original 9 members. In 1993 Darren was promoted to Leading Firefighter.
He has had a busy 20 years with the Service and especially remembers Ironbridge flooding, when he spent 2 days pumping out properties, and the large factory fires including that at Coxes Chemicals, which was one of the largest incidents Shropshire has seen.
Darren is a Production Manager based at Peter Grant Papers in Telford. He started working there on the production line 20 years ago and has worked his way up over the years. Darren is a keen Wolves supporter and has only missed 5 home games in 13 years.
Tony Talbot joined Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service on 5 November 1991 as part of the new Retained crew at Wellington Fire Station. He is one of only 2 left from the original 9 members. In 1993 Tony was promoted to Leading Firefighter and 2 years later to Sub Officer, in charge of the crew.
In addition, 6 years ago, Tony successfully applied for the role of Retained Support Officer and was instrumental in organising large scale training exercises (including the first 10 pump exercise the Service had seen for many years) and improving Retained recruitment in sparsely populated areas by working with local employers to encourage them to allow their staff to become on-call (Retained) firefighters.
In 2009 he was promoted to Watch Manager in the new Group Support Team playing a key part in establishing the new Retained Development Programme, and achieving his Learning and Development Level 4 NVQ, A1 Assessor Award and PETALLS teaching qualification in the process.
Tony and his partner Rachel have 5 children and two grandchildren between them. Partner Rachel gets a special mention for suffering many a sleepless night and for being left at various venues and family occasions when Tony has responded to emergency calls.
Tony is a keen Liverpool fan and enjoys spending time with his family. He would like to take up golf but can’t find the time.
Adam Tempest joined Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service in May 1991 as a Retained firefighter at Newport. He also joined the Defence Fire Service in 1993, stationed at Donnington.
In November 1995 he successfully applied to West Midlands Fire Service, serving on the Watch at Handsworth, Birmingham before moving to Aldridge in 2005. While with West Midlands he was unable to continue his Retained role at Newport but resumed his Retained duties there on transferring back to Shropshire and onto the Watch at Telford in August 2006.
He has represented both the West Midlands and Shropshire Services playing cricket and he continues to play for his local team.
Adam shares his life with partner Catherine and children Charlotte (6) and 4 year old Harry.
Oswestry: Alan Walker joined Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service on 23 July 1991 as a Retained firefighter at Ellesmere before relocating to Oswestry in 1995, where he has served ever since.
He was awarded the High Sheriff’s Good Citizen’s Award in 2007 and was part of the Oswestry Treble Niners team who were awarded the Telent Charity Shield in 2009. As well as his ongoing commitment to Oswestry Treble Niners, he is a member of New Saints Football Club and is a keen photographer.
Alan shares his life with partner Lilian and children Teri-Anne (16 years) and 11 year old Reanna.
South Shropshire: Christopher Morris joined Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service as an ‘on call’ (Retained) firefighter at Clun on 11 February 1991. He went on to provide fire fighting cover at both Craven Arms and Clun for nearly 11 years from 1 May 1993 to 29 February 2004. Since 2004 until the present day, he has continued to serve at Clun Fire Station.
He is married to Rachel and they have two children, an eight year old son Flynn and five year old daughter, Erin.
Martin Jones has served as an ‘on call’ (Retained) firefighter at Bishops Castle since joining the Service on 22 November 1990.
Martin’s primary employment is as Premises Manager at Bishops Castle Community College.
Martin’s favourite pastime is going to Old Trafford to watch the second love in his life Manchester United. He is married to Sahra and they have 3 sons; Mark, Craig and Adam.