Top award for lifesaving Newport firefighter

Martin Richardson receives the good citizen’s award from High Sheriff John Abram

A Newport firefighter who launched a successful campaign to educate teenagers in driver safety after a high number of student deaths in road crashes has won the High Sheriff’s Good Citizen Award.
There was a “dramatic reduction” in the number of road traffic collisions as a result of the work of Martin Richardson at Harper Adams Agricultural University.

The actions of the Newport Fire Station Crew Manager were recognised when he received the honour from High Sheriff John Abram at an awards ceremony hosted by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service held at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn last night (wed).

The award is given annually to someone who makes a substantial contribution to society which results in a significant difference to the safety and well being of those within the community in which they live or work.

The citation reads that through their outstanding efforts, loyalty and hard work and caring approach has made a very real difference to the well-being of others.

Mr Abram said that for a number of years there were many road traffic collisions involving students from Harper Adams Agricultural University.

Several of the accidents were severe and resulted in fatalities, culminating in a tragic incident which took the lives of three students and sent shockwaves through the students and staff at the university and the wider community, he said.

“This was Martin’s motivation to organise an event during Freshers’ Week to raise awareness of road safety issues with new students.”

He also arranged a vehicle extrication demonstration by firefighters showing a person being cut out of a vehicle and used the opportunity to emphasise the importance of vehicles being in good working order.

Working with the Institute of Advanced Motorists, Martin then helped to organise a free driving test for students to ensure that they were still driving to a safe standard.

“Subsequently, there was a dramatic reduction in the number of road traffic collisions that the Newport crew attended involving the university students,” said Mr Abram.

Martin has now widened his audience and carries out these displays at all the secondary schools and colleges around Newport.

"I am truly overwhelmed and honoured to receive this award and to have my parents, wife, children, sister and family present makes it even more special. I would like to thank my fellow retained firefighters for nominating me and also pay credit to them for their help, support and enthusiasm towards participating in both the RTC and car washing events. Without them the events I organise could not take place.”

Over the years he has also raised thousands of pounds for charity, organising numerous car washes on behalf of the Fire Fighters Charity and the Severn Hospice.

For the past three years he has run the London Marathon, with this year’s event on behalf of the Fire Fighters Charity and visually impaired children. Martin also does voluntary work at Noah's Ark Nursery in Newport along with his father which has involved transforming and maintaining an overgrown area into a wildlife area with pond for the children to enjoy and learn more about nature.

“Martin has given much of his own time over the years to support others and his work has benefited many,” added the High Sheriff.

17th May, 2012