Billingshurst firefighter honoured at awards

Members of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service at their annual awards ceremony
Members of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service at their annual awards ceremony

A Billingshurst man has received his long service medal at a special fire service awards ceremony.

Mick Lewin was awarded the 20-year Long Service and Good Conduct (LSGC) medal to honour his two decades in the fire service.

The ceremony, held at Arundel Castle on Thursday October 4, recognised staff members’ hard work and commitment to the service.

Mike joined the service 1995 as an on-call firefighter, before moving to wholetime.

He joined the technical rescue unit in 2006 and is currently the watch manager.

LSGC medals are awarded nationally, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, to wholetime and on-call firefighters who have completed two decades of outstanding service to their community.

They were presented by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant Harry Goring.

Other accolades given out included awards for long service, teamwork, lifetime achievement, and volunteer of the year.

Gavin Watts, chief fire officer said: “Recognising colleagues for the work that they do is one of the best bits of my job.

“This is always a wonderful evening and getting the chance to celebrate success with families and loved ones is a healthy reminder of all that is good about WSFRS.

“The fact that the current and previous high sheriff, the vice lord-lieutenant and the chief superintendent for West Sussex made the effort to attend also indicates the high regard that WSFRS is held in.”

Families and friends were invited to watch the ceremony in the Baron’s Hall, before enjoying photographs and a buffet afterwards.

Gavin added: “It was also pleasing to present a new award that we have named the Rob Mapley Shining Star award, in memory of our much loved and sorely missed colleague.

“Rob embodied the very best of the fire service and I am so grateful to Lynne Mapley that she has allowed us to celebrate Rob’s life in this way.”

Cllr Debbie Kennard, cabinet member for Safer, Stronger Communities said: “Well done to all of our winners. Our firefighters work extremely hard to provide an essential emergency service around the clock, and it is important that we recognise and reward this through our annual awards.”

Other recipients for the LSGC were Phil Grace from Storrington, Darren Greene from Bognor, Gary Locker from Goring, James Mackay from Pagham, Bognor, Shane Mott, from Worthing, John Murphy from Worthing, Edward Noyce from Crawley and Chris Saunders from Burgess Hill.

Recipients of the 40 year meritorious medal included Ray Jackson from Worthing.

Ray has worked at several locations in the county, most notably as station commander at Horsham and Shoreham, recruitment officer at Worthing, and deputy district commander at Horsham.

The other recipients were Stephen Toney from Littlehampton and Ian Walker from Haywards Heath.

Chief fire officer commendation awards were presented to individuals and teams who were nominated for going above and beyond the call of duty.

These individuals were: Martin Gray and Dan Moon for dedication above and beyond the call of duty at an incident, Fiona Hargreaves for outstanding contribution by giving 110 per cent on a critical project, Lee Smith for creating a World Cup-themed safety campaign which reached 115,000 people and Colin Tamon for dedication above and beyond the call of duty while off duty.

Other recipients of awards included: Paul Watson with the lifetime achievement award, British Red Cross with the partnership of the year award (represented by Amanda Carcary, Tina Knight and Adam Marshall), Gavin McCourty with the Rob Mapley Shining Star award and James McGrath with the safer stronger community award.

Also honoured were Marina Bailey, Alistair Evans, Mark Holland, Steve Peck and Gary Towson with the team of the year (safe and well community fire safety officers).

Mark Hayter from the business fire safety team won the Parham House award, Tania Fitch received volunteer of the year and Arundel Fire Station were awarded the Car Wash Champions prize.