Leamington firefighter's 50 years of service honoured with special award

Jeff Stevens (right) with Chief Fire Officer Andy Hickmott (left)
Jeff Stevens (right) with Chief Fire Officer Andy Hickmott (left)

A Leamington firefighter who has worked and volunteered in the fire service for 50 years has been honoured with a special award.

Jeff Stevens, who joined Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service in 1968, received the award at the service’s annual ceremony at the Royal Pump Rooms on Thursday November 15 for his commitment and dedication.

High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Mrs Clare Sawdon (left) with crews from Rugby Fire Station and Lisa Hayes of Rugby Borough Council (second from right)

High Sheriff of Warwickshire, Mrs Clare Sawdon (left) with crews from Rugby Fire Station and Lisa Hayes of Rugby Borough Council (second from right)

Jeff worked at Leamington Fire Station as a divisional officer for 30 years until his retirement in 1998.

During his time there, Jeff was responsible for forming the service’s ‘Colour Party’ in 1991 after the introduction of service flags and standard bearers.

He organised attendance and ensured all volunteers had the correct uniform, equipment and facilities to practice their important roles.

Jeff retained his voluntary role for the Colour Party after retiring for a further 20 years. Although he has now given up this role, he will still remain involved as the honorary president.

Crew Commander Ben Harrison (right) with Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Mr Timothy Cox.

Crew Commander Ben Harrison (right) with Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Mr Timothy Cox.

Plenty of other awards were given out on the night, and Chief Fire Officer Andy Hickmott said it was one of his favourite parts of his job.

He added: “This is always a wonderful evening and getting the chance to celebrate success with families and loved ones is a great reminder of the amazing people we have working for or supporting Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service.”

Fire Brigade Long Service and Good Conduct Medals, awarded to operational personnel who have completed twenty years’ of outstanding service, were

presented to Ian Brooker (Leamington), Ben Harrison (Rugby), and Christopher Lowe (Stratford).

Crew Commander Christopher Lowe (right)

Crew Commander Christopher Lowe (right)

Community Achievement Awards were given to Richard Cooknell (Rugby) for organising ‘Safe and Well’ checks to protect vulnerable people from fire, and Rugby Fire Station along with Lisa Hayes at Rigby Borough Council were recognised for reducing arson of derelict buildings.

Group Commander Neil McElvenny, firefighter Alan Smith and crews at Gaydon and Wellesbourne were all given Chief Fire Officer Commendation Awards for their ‘exemplary’ devotion to duty.

Other winners of this award were Ingrid Barber, Chris Woodward, Crew Commanders Pally Kapoor and Tom Stephenson from Gaydon Fire Station, firefighter Ashley Holtom, Watch Commander Andy McKelvie and Crew Commanders Mike Olver and Paul Perry from Wellesbourne Fire Station.

Monica Fogarty, joint managing director of Warwickshire County Council said: “I would like to congratulate all of our winners.

Firefighter Ian Brooker (right)

Firefighter Ian Brooker (right)

“Our firefighters and staff work extremely hard to provide an essential emergency service around the clock. It is important we recognise this and those who support them through our annual awards.”

Firefighter Richard Cooknell (right)

Firefighter Richard Cooknell (right)