249 RESCUED BY SHROPSHIRE FIREFIGHTERS

A total of 249 people have been rescued by Shropshire firefighters over the past year, revealed the Assistant Chief Fire Officer.

They were saved from fires, cut free from crashed vehicles and rescued from floods, said Andy Johnson at a ceremony last night (Monday) to recognise the individual achievements of members of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Firefighters, support staff, and their “long suffering” families were praised by the senior fire officer for all playing a “vital” role in protecting the people of Shropshire.

“A great many lives have been saved and a great many injuries have been avoided through the combined efforts of all who have worked for the fire service throughout its history. The combined benefits for society in general, and specifically here in Shropshire, is immense,” he said.

The UK’s longest serving firefighter Roger Smith (69), a former mayor of Market Drayton, was recognised for his distinguished service over more than 47 years with the High Sheriff’s Good Citizen’s Award.

He had made a “substantial contribution” to society and “a significant difference” to the safety and well being of his local community, said High Sheriff  Robert Bland.

“His 47 years is commitment and he is the longest serving firefighter in the country and that is something that Shropshire should be very proud of.”

Roger, whose two sons are also firefighters, received his prestigious award at the ceremony at Shrewsbury’s Theatre Severn also attended by the Lord Lieutenant Sir Algernon Heber Percy and Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority chairman Stuart West.

Roger’s son Mark, a crew manager at Market Drayton fire station, was one of 13 to receive Long Service and Good Conduct Medals from the Lord Lieutenant.

Also recognised was Craig Willis, who is from a large firefighting family at Baschurch Fire Station. His son Connor is one of his fellow firefighters and his other son Jay has just applied to join. Craig’s two brothers are past members of the crew and his nephew is also a Baschurch firefighter.

Prees and Hodnet Firefighter Alan Smith received the Telent Shield for his “outstanding” contribution to charity in “tireless” fundraising
with bingo nights over the past five years raising more than £42,000
for charities including  the national Fire Fighters Charity.

Ludlow Fire Station won the Dave Bishton Challenge Shield for their charity efforts in raising £1,849 in a year for The Fire Fighters Charity with car washes and street collections.

Receiving the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal were: Jason Norgrove (Ludlow); Kev Williams (Oswestry); Ian Pugh (Wellington); Mick Davidson and Al Martin (Telford); Richard Brazier, Graham Rowley, Dale Jinman,  Contracts Manager Su Evans (Shrewsbury); Shaun Groves (Minsterley); Lee Morris (Albrighton); Craig Willis (Baschurch); Mark Smith (Market Drayton);

Their families received a miniature medal for their support with the Fire Authority chairman saying: “Without your support our firefighters couldn’t do the job they do.”

He gave them a “huge thank you” for their support especially as a firefighter’s job was sometimes hazardous as they dealt with emergencies often during the night.

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Pete White Pete White

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