knighthoodNearly 20 members of the UK Fire and Rescue Services were among those recognised for their contributions to the country in the Queen's New Year's Honours List with outgoing Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service CFO John Bonney receiving top honours for his 30-plus years of service.

In a day of great success for HFRS, CFO Bonney - who retired on 31 December 2014 - became a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) while his former ACFO Bob Ratcliffe was awarded the Queen's Fire Service Fire Medal (QSFM) as he also stepped down last year following 34 years of service.

ACFO Ratcliffe said: "I'm delighted and surprised to be honoured alongside John. The hardest part was keeping it a secret! I have been fortunate. Hampshire FRS is a great organisation and we have got amazing people that work for the fire service.

"The only part tinged with sadness was Shirley Towers [where firefighters Jamie Shears and Alan Bannon died in a fire in 2010] but it has been a great career and I have got lots of happy memories."

Others honoured included Oxfordshire CFO Dave Etheridge who became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) while Watch Manager William Gar (Northumberland FRS) and fire volunteer David Millward received MBEs for services to the communities of Morpeth and Argyll respectively.

Outside of the mainland UK services, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) ACFO Dale Ashford was recognised with the QSFM for his "service, professionalism and courage in protecting the community from fires, road traffic collisions and other specialist rescue incidents such as flooding and hazardous materials incidents".

Speaking on receiving the award ACFO Ashford, who is also an active member of CFOA and the Irish Fire Investigation Association, said: "It is a great honour to have been awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal in the New Year's Honours List. I am personally delighted but I am conscious that we are a big team in the Fire & Rescue Service and I could not function without that team of dedicated professionals. I would also like to thank my fantastic family for their support, without which I would simply not be able to do my work."

He was joined in receiving the QSFM by:
- Dan Stephens, Chief Fire Officer for Merseyside FRS
- Des Tidbury, Chief Fire Officer for Cornwall FRS
- Richard Smith, former Chief Fire Officer for Mid & West Wales FRS
- James Owen, Deputy County Fire Officer for Greater Manchester FRS
- David Goodhew, Assistant Chief Officer for the Scottish FRS
- William Paterson, Crew Manager for the Scottish FRS.

Meanwhile, the following were all awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM):
- Trevor Stratford QGM, Director of Operations for Devon & Somerset FRS
- Cllr James Andrews, Chairman of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Authority
- Brian Walsingham, Retained Firefighter at Corby Glen Fire Station for services to the community
- Robert Coles, Fleet Manager at Gloucestershire FRS for services to the community
- Maurice Hodgson, Watch Manager at Bolton-le-Sands Fire Station for services to fire safety
- Mrs Deidre Phillips, Fire Emergency Support Co-Ordinator at Humberside FRS for services to the community
- The late Roy Spokes, Watch Manager at Long Buckby Fire Station for services to the community.

CFOA congratulated and offered their "best wishes" to all recipients in a statement on their website.