West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service pays tribute to staff’s efforts at prestigious awards ceremony

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service celebrated the courage, dedication and selflessness of its staff at their recent annual Recognition and Achievement Awards Ceremony.

Those honoured at Arundel Castle included serving firefighters, support staff and members of the public.

A total of 31 long service and good conduct medals were given to members of staff that have served within the fire and rescue service for 20 and 30 years, with medals being presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Lady Emma Barnard.

Eleven commendation awards were also handed out by the Chief Fire Officer, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, to those that have been recognised for going above and beyond during the last 12 months.

Among the winners were Joe Bullingham, a Station Manager for Protection, and Elizabeth O’Connor, a resident from Chichester, who both received Bravery Awards.

When on holiday, Joe noticed a lady get into difficulty when swimming in the hotel pool. Joe dived in and rescued her from the water, only to find that she had become unconscious. He then carried out initial first aid before being joined by the lifeguards and helped to save the person’s life.

Elizabeth received her award after exiting her vehicle having been involved in a road traffic collision and witnessing a passer-by collapse on the ground. Elizabeth recognised the signs of cardiac arrest and immediately started CPR, despite sustaining injuries from the collision, until the crew from Petworth Fire Station arrived and used their defibrillator to shock the heart into normal sinus rhythm.

Crew Manager Andy Horner picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award having served in West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service for almost 50 years.

Andy joined Selsey Fire Station in 1973 as a retained firefighter, and later joined the service in a full-time position where he served communities across the county for 30 years. He then retired from his full-time role as temporary Area Manager and re-joined Selsey Fire Station as a Crew Manager, where he still serves today.

Andy has seen many changes to the fire service over the years, from advancements in technology to changes in leadership, and after almost five decades he’s still committed to going above and beyond by regularly mentoring new employees at Selsey in his own time, away from his contracted hours with the service.

The Community and Partnership Award, a new award for 2022, went Mark Maynard. Mark runs his own local vehicle recovery firm in Crawley and has provided scrap cars to West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service for over 25 years.

Mark’s donations have allowed generations of firefighters to practice their road traffic collision training and he has also provided cars for road safety campaigns and fire station open days.

Duncan Crow, Cabinet Member for Community Support, Fire and Rescue, said: “The dedication from all the recipients is truly exceptional. Each medal and award that has been given out conveys a strong message of commitment to the communities of West Sussex and it is an honour to recognise the individuals who give so much to protect others.”

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Chief Fire Officer, added: “Throughout the year our staff have had to emerge from the cloud of COVID-19, battle some of the worst storms we have seen in recent years and respond to a summer of wildfires that took hold of our beautiful countryside.

“I am extremely proud of the achievements our people have made during what has been an incredibly busy year, and it has been an absolute pleasure to celebrate the successes of those who go to remarkable lengths to keep West Sussex safe.”

The full list of award recipients are:

Long Service and Good Conduct Medals (20 years):

Anthony Wills (Chichester)
James Cameron (Horsham)
Marc Lancaster (Chichester)
Richard Randall (Horsham)
Lee Buckingham (Crawley)
Mark Collard (Retired)
Michael Coudray (Worthing)
David Stitt (Worthing)
Ben Brooker (Horsham)
Ross Botell (Bognor Regis)
Gary Singleton (Henfield)
Ian Reece (Development and Operational Training)
Connor Ryan (Worthing)
Scott Collier (Fleet and East Wittering)
Simon Reed (Chichester)
Anton Mezzone (Development and Operational Training)
Peter Rickard (Assistant Chief Fire Officer)
Simon Foster (Protection)
Maisie Rudkin (Protection)
Simon Boyling (Resource and Development)
Mark Havell (Eastern Group Manager)
Long Service and Good Conduct Medals (30 years):

Andrew White (Chichester)
Marvin Smith (Retired)
Lee Spencer-Smith (Now at Surrey Fire & Rescue Service)
Darren Wickings (Policy)
Mark Howlett (Lancing)
David Jones (Partridge Green)
John Lainsbury (Protection)
Richard Jones (Worthing)
Mark Andrews (Deputy Chief Fire Officer)
Michael Francis (Burgess Hill)
Chief Fire Officer Commendation Awards:

Shining Star: Sharon Andrews
Shining Star: Julia Hammond
Exceptional Service Award: Michael Copelin
Exceptional Service Award: Katherine Mackay
Team of the Year: RET
Lifetime Achievement Award: Andy Horner
Bravery Award: Joe Bullingham
Bravery Award: Elizabeth O’Connor
Charity Champion: Darren Hamon
Community and Partnership Award: Mark Maynard
Volunteer of the Year: Jonathan Mankelow