Excellence celebrated at fire service awards

Excellent, innovative and inspirational fire service staff were recognised at the annual Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) Excellence Awards last night (Thursday January 19).

The annual event celebrated long service, staff achievements and support from the local community and was attended by more than 140 guests at the Marriott Hotel in Huntingdon.

It awarded the commitment, dedication and professionalism of CFRS staff and others outside of the organisation that go above and beyond to improve the level of service CFRS provides to the community.

The event was sponsored by the following organisations:

  • Emergency One and Clan Tools 
  • TruckEast and Scania
  • Supply Plus
  • Holmatro
  • Interspiro
  • Tensor
  • Bristol Uniforms
  • Hunter Apparel

Awards presented on the evening, which was hosted by Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland, included:

Long Service and Good Conduct medals - presented under a Royal Warrant for members of the uniformed service after completing 20 years of long and meritorious service to the fire and rescue service and the public. These were presented by Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Penny Walkinshaw.

Chairman's Awards - an award made to retired staff who have completed at least 25 years' service with CFRS. Presented by Sir Peter Brown, Chairman of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority.

Certificate of Commendation - a formal recognition to both members of staff and external stakeholders.

Excellence Awards - these awards reflect a variety of different achievements made both within and outside of the Service. Winners of the Excellence Awards were nominated by staff and chosen by a judging panel.

After the ceremony, Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland said: “The awards give us the chance to celebrate all the amazing work that takes place 24/7 on the frontline, behind the scenes and within our communities.

“They allow us to recognise the commitment, passion, dedication and professionalism of all our staff, both operational and support, giving the nod to those who are inspirational leaders, innovative thinkers and those dedicated to making a difference to the lives of all the residents of Cambridgeshire.

“This evening would not have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors. A massive thank you has to go to the organisations who have contributed in some way to tonight’s event.”

Mike Masden, Managing Director of Emergency One (UK) Ltd and Clan Tools and Plant Ltd, said: "We are delighted to be sponsoring the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service Excellence Awards again this year. The awards highlight the contribution that many individuals within the fire and rescue service make towards keeping our communities a safer place to live and work.

"We would like to pass on our congratulations to all winners, and indeed to all members of Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, for the great work that is done on a daily basis."

The evening ended with a prize draw of donated prizes.

Long Service and Good Conduct medal recipients:

Awarded after completing 20 years' long and meritorious service to the fire and rescue service and the public.

  • Andrew Davis – Watch Commander, Gamlingay
  • Giles Fuller – Crew Commander, Soham
  • David Hobbs – Firefighter, Soham
  • Phil Hyland – Firefighter, Cambridge
  • Danny Kelly – Station Commander, Training Centre, Huntingdon
  • Gary Mitchley – Group Commander, On-Call (SHQ)
  • Scott Newbon – Firefighter, Cambridge
  • Paul Spoelstra – Firefighter, St Neots

Chairman's Award

Presented to retired personnel who have completed at least 25 years' service.

  • Les Fuller- Watch Commander, Burwell
  • Kim Johnson – Firefighter, St Neots
  • Mark Nicholas – Firefighter, Whittlesey
  • Kevin Robbs – Watch Commander, Peterborough
  • Ronald Robertson – Firefighter, Chatteris
  • Sharon Salerno – Firefighter (Control), SHQ

Excellence Awards

Fundraiser of the Year Award - an individual, team or event that has raised a significant amount of money or generated support for a charity or other good cause.


Firefighter John Reynolds (Linton)
For his commitment in organising an event with a difference by linking a car wash up to a national baking event, which raised £1,250 for The Fire Fighters Charity and saw members of the local community win the national baking competition. 


Excellence in Community Fire Safety Award - a successful initiative that has made an impact on Community Safety within the county.


Black Watch (Cambridge)
Who caught the attention of our judging panel for delivering an important safety message – reminding people to get their chimneys swept to prevent fires – in a fun and innovative way by dressing up as chimney sweeps and re-enacting the Mary Poppins’ song, Step In Time. 


Community Champion of the Year Award


Jayne Ross (Peterborough)

Recognising her immense work and dedication to Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service not just as a Community Champion promoting important safety messages within the community but also as the main co-ordinator of the Service’s Olive Branch scheme which trains staff within partner organisations to identify vulnerable people they come into contact with, putting them in touch with useful organisations, such as ours, to help keep them safe.  


On-call Employer of the Year Award - an employer that has demonstrated excellent support to the on-call duty system.


Ramsey Motors

For their continuous support and commitment to the Service for more than 40 years, releasing their employees to go to 999 calls.


Partnership Achievement Award - an achievement, initiative or event that has brought benefits to the Service or public through excellent partnership working.


Marshalls Airport Security Team from Cambridge International Airport (Cambridge)

They provide the Service with access to their site, allowing us to train our entire operational staff in Fire Behaviour Training.  


Individual Achievement Award - an outstanding individual achievement or individual that has consistently performed above expectations.


Firefighter John Tyrrell (Huntingdon)

For his ‘overwhelming commitment’ to a project, integrating the new Incident Command Unit (ICU) into the Service’s fleet.


On-call Recruit of the Year

Firefighter Dez Lartey (Thorney Fire Station)

For ‘outstanding’ physical and theoretical skills together with his determination to give 100% to everything which meant he raised the bar for everyone else on his course.


Award for Innovation and Improvement - an innovative idea or value for money concept carried through from planning to implementation, making a significant impact on the Service.


The Step Development Team (Huntingdon)

For their work and innovation around the introduction of the on-call payment system and on-call recruitment system, saving the Service £20,000 per year.


Operational Excellence Award - Sponsored by Emergency One UK and Clan Tools

A demonstration of excellence by an individual or team during an incident.


Black Watch (Cambridge)

For successfully rescuing a trapped donkey from an 18-inch man hole, within a flooded pit, 7ft deep, in what was described as a ‘complex, difficult and protracted’ incident.


Leadership Achievement Award - an individual who has shown outstanding leadership.


Team Manager Human Resources Kim Gosschalk (SHQ, Huntingdon)

For her incredible commitment, flexibility and resilience during a particularly busy period when HR was left ‘significantly under-resourced’ due to staff departures.


Team Achievement Award - an outstanding team achievement or a team that has consistently performed above expectations.


The Business Support Group (SHQ Huntingdon, Cambridge, Dogsthorpe)
Described as the front face of the organisation, the group was praised for their ‘can do attitude’, ‘excelling’ with the help and support it provides to any member of the Service who requires it.


Chief Fire Officer’s Commendation - to recognise the commendable actions of an individual or team, whose actions do not fall within our Excellence Awards categories.

Vehicle Technician Darren Hudson, Equipment Technician Russell Evans and Breathing Apparatus Technician Guy Munro (Fleet and Equipment, Dogsthorpe)

These three went to the aid of a lone paramedic who was struggling to administer CPR on an elderly man who had collapsed outside Dogsthorpe Fire Station. All of them were praised for the help they gave the paramedic but also for the ‘tremendous compassion’ they showed in dealing with the situation as others walked by.