Celebrating Sarah's New Year's Honour

Watch Manager Sarah Goodall has been honoured for her charity work in the newly released list of gongs.

Sarah Goodall

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are delighted to celebrate the achievements of Watch Manager Sarah Goodall who has been recognised in the King’s New Years Honours and will receive a British Empire Medal (BEM).


Sarah has been recognised in the prestigious awards list for her extraordinary fundraising, helping raise more than £2million for the Fire Fighters Charity, the UK fire service community’s go-to provider of mental, physical, & social health support.


By day (and night), Sarah is responsible for a team who receive 999 calls, mobilise fire engines, and provide support to emergency incidents to ensure public safety across the county.


Alongside this busy operational role, in the last 10 years, she has provided the leadership, motivation and support to her volunteering team who have organised events that led to donations in excess of £2 million for the Fire Fighter’s Charity; making West Yorkshire of the best-performing Fire and Rescue Services in the UK in respect of fundraising activity.


The Fire Fighter’s Charity has faced similar issues to others during and following the pandemic, given a lack of opportunity to arrange fundraising events involving the public. In West Yorkshire, this has been compounded by the ongoing project to redevelop the Birkenshaw Headquarters Complex which has removed all areas ordinarily used as part of these events for a two-year period.


This has not deterred Sarah; she has innovated and redesigned events in their entirety to deliver them in a new way to overcome the challenges presented. The events she designed showcases the work of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and partner agencies, providing positive engagement opportunities where services meet with the communities they serve.


There is a main summer gala and an event for Bonfire Night, which has a dual purpose of fundraising and providing a safe event during the busiest time of the year for the service. By including elements such as a funfair, the event distracts young people who may otherwise be involved in anti-social behaviour around the lighting of fires and the misuse of fireworks. It is renowned in the community as a highlight of the season. Each event raises thousands of pounds for the Fire Fighter’s Charity.


Sarah has also worked to deliver a match-funding opportunity with a major bank as part of their "charity partner" initiative. Alongside these events, there are regular charity car washes and events such as a "Flaming Charity" event at a Leeds theatre. Sarah also won a Fire Fighter’s Charity "Spirit of Fire" award in 2018 and has continued to work tirelessly since.


Sarah said “When I received the notification of the award from the Home Office, I didn’t believe it was for me and had to read it several times. I was in complete and utter shock! It’s so humbling to be recognised in this way and I feel elated and overwhelmed at the same time. I have never done any of this for recognition or thanks; all I have ever wanted is to promote the exceptional work that we and our partners do across our communities. Being able to raise so much money in support for a charity that is so close to my heart is amazing, as is the work the charity does in supporting the health and wellbeing of our colleagues.”


Sarah’s approach and enthusiasm encourages many others to volunteer from across the service. Part of her role as the link between the service and the charity is to identify opportunities for individuals who may benefit from the support that the charity offers and to put in place the practical steps to makes that happen. This often involves her working with individuals who are dealing with their own challenges which she does in an empathetic and supportive way.


In response to Sarah’s award, Chief Fire Officer John Roberts said; “We are delighted to see Sarah recognised for her work supporting The Firefighters Charity. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Fire & Rescue Service has a long tradition of fundraising for ‘our’ charity, and the work that Sarah does is instrumental in raising huge sums of money that supports many beneficiaries. She should be as proud of this recognition as we are of her.”