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Outstanding public servants recognised at Awards Ceremony

The achievements of Fire Service staff, partners, volunteers and members of the public have been celebrated during Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (RBFRS) annual Award Ceremony, which was held at De Vere Wokefield Estate on Friday, 28 September 2018.

Guests in attendance included the Deputy Lieutenant of Berkshire, Mr David Brownlow, who presented the Long Service and Good Conduct Medals under Royal Warrant on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen and the High Sheriff of the Royal County of Berkshire, Mr Graham Barker.

Chairman of the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, Councillor Colin Dudley said: “Fire and rescue staff do an extraordinary and often difficult job, and it is only right we recognise those who have gone above and beyond expectations to deliver a truly excellent service.”

Chief Fire Officer Trevor Ferguson said: “We want to make sure we recognise and reward excellence in public service, leadership, team working and collaboration. All the nominees should be really proud that their personal contribution to serving the people of Royal Berkshire, has been formally recognised.”

A number of awards were presented during the evening. Some of the highlights include:

The Community Safety Team were awarded the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Community Safety for their essential work with Local Authorities, Government and building landlords to ensure the safety of people in high rise buildings in Berkshire.

The Emergency Responder of the Year award went to the crews that responded to multiple incidents on the A34 during the “Beast from the East” earlier in the year. Whilst making the scene safe at one incident the crews also received reports of another road traffic collision on the northbound carriageway about five hundred metres away. They proceeded to attend the second incident, carrying their equipment between locations due to the cold and difficult conditions. It was also a great demonstration of cross-border working with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Whitley Wood Fire Station received the Fire Station of the Year award. Whitley Wood has supported its community by organising training sessions for members of the public on how to use defibrillators, and hosting a number of successful community open days. This is in addition to Red Watch’s charity work at Royal Berkshire Hospital, delivering presents to children who are in hospital over Christmas.

Driving Instructor Tommy Cliff received the Employee of the Year award after stepping up to many challenges in the last twelve months, ensuring that the department delivered effective and high-quality training and undertaking additional work.

The Shane Burton Award for a career devoted to public service is an award created in 2016 in recognition of Shane Burton, who gave 40 years of public service across a number of roles before he passed away in 2015.  

This year the award went to Alan Webster (pictured above with Lynne Burton and the High Sheriff), who worked with the Service for over forty years. He was involved in many large incidents during this time, including the Hungerford Massacre, the Windsor Castle fire, the Ufton Nervet train crash and the Swinley Forest fire.  However, there is another incident which stands out most to this recipient. During a house fire in Langley, he offered fire survival advice to the caller and later discovered that this advice helped to save the lives of five children. He retired in May 2018 after nearly forty years dedicated to answering emergency calls.

RBFRS would like to thank sponsors Firehawk, Safety by Engineering Supply, Ridge and Conservatree, who supported us in putting on a special occasion for all nominees, winners and recipients.