DEDICATED firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) and their families celebrated a combined 1,040 years of public service across two Long Service and Good Conduct award ceremonies in October and November.

A total of 52 recipients from GMFRS received their 20 years’ service award medal, awarded by the Queen, with many attending one of two events at Manchester’s Training and Development Centre to recognise their achievements with their family and friends.

Fifteen firefighters were presented with the Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medal from the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mrs. Sharman Birtles JP DL, at a ceremony on Tuesday 12 October. A further 14 received their medal last night (Tuesday 16 November) from the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Mrs. Diane Hawkins JP DL LLB.

Medal recipients were congratulated on their achievements and thanked for their distinguished service and bravery by Chief Fire Officer Dave Russel.  

CFO Russel said: “I want to thank our medal recipients for dedicating their working lives to protecting the public over the last 20 years and doing that with selflessness and courage, demonstrating our Service’s mission, vision and values. I also want to thank their families and friends for their support – they too are part of our fire service family.

“The past few years have been exceptionally difficult for our Service. We have faced a number of challenges and dealt with some significant incidents. Over the past 18 months, our firefighters have adapted to working differently during the pandemic and supporting Greater Manchester’s response to COVID-19, and I am grateful for the work they have done and continue to do in difficult and often complex circumstances in order to protect our communities.”

Looking back over his career, Firefighter Neil Massey said "From my first day in GMFRS, until the day I retire, I feel very lucky to have worked alongside an amazing group of people. They serve their community and give everything to help people in need, dealing with every situation head on.

“I have been to a range of incidents during my career; from fourth in attendance at "the cube" fire in Bolton; first to the Summerseat gas explosion and recently a protracted medical emergency with a HGV driver suffering a heart attack. The diverse nature of every turnout, and the unknown turn of events within every shift, has made my time in service a challenging and fulfilling experience."

Also delighted to be among the award recipients was Crew Manager Edward Hickling. Edward joined the Service in September 2000 and, after completing his basic training, was first posted to Salford Red Watch.

Crew Manager Hickling said: “I am very proud of the work that everybody does to protect the communities of Greater Manchester and I was especially pleased to represent GMFRS while running the London and New York marathons in 2014 to support The Fire Fighters Charity.

“I have been involved in many challenging incidents across my career, but there have also been far more rewarding occasions which I have enjoyed. Particularly, taking new recruits from civilian to firefighter in 16 weeks and rescuing Enzo Ferrari (a pet tortoise) from a house fire.”

Closing the ceremony in October, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mrs. Sharman Birtles JP DL said: “It is an exceptional privilege to be invited here today on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen. On behalf of the residents, communities, and businesses across Greater Manchester, thank you for your distinguished service and bravery.

“The officers receiving these medals have obtained a vast wealth of experience that can be passed on to new recruits, and other members of staff at GMFRS. I would like to congratulate each one of you for the great service you do for the communities of Greater Manchester.”

The Long Service Good Conduct award was instigated in 1954 by the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and a Royal Warrant was approved by Her Majesty the Queen. The Long Service and Good Conduct Medal is hand-stamped with the recipient’s name and awarded to those individuals who have kept up an excellent standard in their character and conduct throughout their 20 years with the Fire and Rescue Service.


Article Published: 17/11/2021 10:30 AM