West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been named Charity Fundraising Brigade of the Year.
The prestigious accolade was awarded to West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) by The Fire Fighters Charity in front of a star-studded audience at the national Spirit of Fire Awards in London.
West Yorkshire charity representatives - Watch Commander Paul Austin and Crew Commander Stuart Wilson - were invited to a Downing Street Reception where they met Eric Pickles MP, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, before attending the awards ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel on Friday. They accepted the award for Charity Fundraising Brigade of the Year from BBC’s Crimewatch detective Jacqui Hames and Neil O’Connor, Director of the Fire Resilience and Emergencies Directorate, on behalf of WYFRS.
WYFRS fought off stiff competition from other finalists – Hampshire, Northamptonshire and Strathclyde – to clinch the prestigious title.
West Yorkshire Chief Fire Officer Simon Pilling said: “I am incredibly proud that West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service staff have been recognised by The Fire Fighters Charity in this way. Many individuals from around the organisation devote a great deal of their own time to ensure that an exciting calendar of charity events takes place. Everyone who is involved in fundraising should be very proud of this fantastic achievement.”
WYFRS was presented with the award due to the extensive network of charity representatives and events which have been established over the years. The Chief Fire Officer and principal officers actively promote and support fundraising events from the top down. The brigade has a calendar bursting with charity events, from car washes and car boot sales to bag pack and pie and pea suppers. The annual Emergency Services Gala raises thousands for the charity, as has the newly relaunched Red Hot Dates charity calendar. West Yorkshire has consistently led the way in collecting old clothes and textiles in the Fire Fighters Charity rag banks.
Last year, staff raised more than £216,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity alone, with thousands also going to a range of other charities.
At the ceremony, Mytholmroyd Fire Station was a runner-up in The Fire Fighters Charity Team of the Year award category, and Oskar Porada of Halifax was a runner-up in the Child Public Hero award.
Other winners on the night were as follows:
- Team of the Year – Runcorn Fire Station (White Watch)
- Fire Fighter of the Year – Nathan Julien, London Fire Brigade
- Supporter of the Year (Team) – Blazing Saddles
- Supporter of the Year (Individual) – Jenny Adkins
- Adult Public Hero – Carl Creasey and Adam Lessiter
- Child Public Hero – Charlie Ryan, Ali Al-Nabhan and Chyane Bell
- Beneficiary of Courage – Ally Boyle
- Special Recognition – Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service
- Newcomer of the Year – Mary Maggs
Former firefighter and committed fundraiser Keith Roszell MBE, a Cornish-based Company Member of The Fire Fighters Charity, received this year’s Lifetime Achievement award.
Celebrities who attended the evening’s ceremony included Rudolph Walker, Natalie J. Robb, Bhasker Patel, Tony Hirst, Ian Puleston-Davies, Ken Livingstone, Lorraine Chase, Michelle Heaton, Jamie Rickers, Anna Williamson, Lawrie McMenemy MBE and Kevin Keegan OBE. As well as stars from the stage and screen, a number of the country’s successful Olympic medal-winning athletes joined the celebrations.
Spirit of Fire 2012 was hosted by The Fire Fighters Charity, the UK’s leading provider of services that enhance quality of life for serving and retired fire service personnel and their families. The Charity is available for all members of the fire service community during their time of need, assisting thousands of individuals every year by providing pioneering rehabilitation treatment and support services.
It costs £9million every year to meet the needs of the Charity’s beneficiaries in the fire service family. With no government funding, the Charity relies upon donations from the general public and fire community.
For more information go to www.firefighterscharity.org.uk/spirit