On Wednesday 6 September Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service held its annual awards evening celebrating its successes during the previous year. This year’s honours included Watch Commander John Murphy who released a young boy crushed by a car and Fire Cadet Charlie Beresford who put out a fire in the chip shop where he worked.


Councillor Colleen Atkins, Chair of Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue Authority, said:

“It was an honour to present the awards that recognise the tremendous achievements by members of our Fire & Rescue Service whose dedication and commitment helps keep the people of Bedfordshire safe.

“The array of awards is impressive and they are well deserved. It is right that we recognise and reward our staff properly for the contribution they make to our community.

“Many of these achievements demonstrate Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s ever widening role in the community and how we are working closely with our blue light partners, embracing collaboration and continually driving forward improvements to help make the service even more efficient and effective.

“In paying tribute to all our Operational and Support staff, I want especially to mention our ‘on-call’ firefighters and the employers who release them to do their important lifesaving work in our community. We are always looking for more on-call firefighters and would urge people to give back to their community by considering joining our firefighting family.

“The families and loved ones of all our staff deserve thanks too. Recent events in London have bought into stark relief the difficulties firefighters can face and the support and love of their friends and family is a very important part of their ability to cope.

“The Awards Ceremony was an excellent evening and highlighted the crucial role of the Fire and Rescue Service in Bedfordshire.”   

Paul Fuller CBE QFSM, Chief Fire Officer, added, “This was an outstanding evening. I was pleased everyone was able to celebrate the marvellous achievements of our Firefighters, support staff and Fire Cadets. Their actions and activities were in keeping with the spirit of everything we in the fire and Rescue Service stands for.”

Amongst the awards given were:

Tom Smylie Memorial Trophy

The Tom Smylie Memorial Trophy is presented annually to a member, or group of members, of the fire and rescue service who, in the opinion of the adjudicating panel, made an outstanding contribution to the public or Service in one of a list of designated areas.

This trophy was donated to the Service by Mrs Isabella Smylie in 1985 in memory of her late husband, Assistant Divisional Officer Tom Smylie, some of the family are here tonight.

Watch Commander John Murphy received this award for his outstanding actions following a collision between a car and a 12 year old boy in March 2017 in St Ives, Cambridgeshire. 

John was on his way home after a tour of duty at Kempston Fire Station when he witnessed a car leave the road and collide with a boy who was on his bike, pinning him to a lamp post. 

Recognising the severity of the situation, John took control of the scene by first announcing himself to the onlookers and instructed people with appropriate action to assist him.  He coordinated a group to release the handbrake from the car and remove it from the boy.  He then provided medical assistance before sitting with the boy to monitor and comfort him until ambulance crews arrived.


Community Courage Award

The Community Courage Award wasis awarded to Cadet Charlie Beresford in recognition of outstanding actions relating to a fire in the chip shop where he works. 

Charlie was serving on the counter when he heard shouts from the back and turned around to find one of the chip fryers on fire.  Charlie immediately took control of the situation.  He put the fire out quickly using the correct extinguisher, ensured other staff didn’t risk using the wrong method for putting the fire out, called the Fire Service and had presence of mind to check on the resident in the flat above.


Firefighter Cadet of the Year

This year’s award is presented to Cadet Jordan Field in recognition for his dedication to the role of a Cadet in supporting the Fire Cadet Group and other Fire Cadets and helping to plan and deliver fundraising events for various charities and your commitment to pursuing your personal goals.


Service Cadet Challenge Award

The annual cadet competition was held on Saturday 8th of April. After an extremely hard fought battle between cadet units from Kempston, Leighton Buzzard, Luton and Sandy, it was Sandy that managed to go one better than their previous year and take the win!  The day was split into water drills in the morning and competitions in the afternoon, all counting towards the final score. The cadet leaders have stated that “It was great to see the competition was taken in the right spirit with all the units cheering each other on. The true winners were the cadets themselves who went home with big smiles on their faces.

This year the award goes to Sandy Fire Station Cadets and is collected by:

Jade Allaway

Jessica Fountain

Reuben Matheron

Kieran Stevenson

Ben Watson


The Fire Fighters Charity Awards: Champion Fundraisers Trophy

The Fire Fighters Charity provides a range of services that preserve the quality of life for serving and retired fire and rescue service personnel and their families. They  offers services such as therapy and re-ablement facilities, recuperative care and sheltered housing, in addition to introducing much needed child and family therapy programmes.

The cost of providing these services currently stands at £10 million, raised through a number of activities and championed by our firefighters and staff, from locally organised events to international challenges.

The first Fire Fighters Charity Award to be presented this evening is the Champion Fundraisers Trophy

Each year the service recognises the station that has raised the most amount of money toward the work of the charity.

This year the award is presented to Stopsley Community Fire Station who raised in excess of £1500 through a highly successful Open Day Event and is accepted by

Crew Commander Josh Seager on behalf of their colleagues at Stopsley Fire Station


The Endeavour Award

The award for Endeavour was provided by former Deputy Chief Fire Officer Jagtar Singh on his retirement from service and post as committee Chair, and is awarded annually in recognition of those who continue to display a commitment to the betterment of their colleagues through their efforts. Since 2006 an award has been presented to teams or individuals who display integrity, enthusiasm, initiative, energy and commitment to championing the work of ‘the charity’ locally, whether through fundraising events or work with beneficiaries.

This evening the Endeavour Award is presented to Biggleswade Community Fire Station in recognition of your outstanding effort in planning and undertaking a third fire engine pull event through the town raising £4,500 for good causes, including The Fire Fighters Charity.

The Award is collected by On-Call Watch Commander Eddie Wing, On-Call Firefighter Ryan Phillips, and Mrs Michelle Collings.


Cadet Certificate of Achievement

This year it is awarded to Leighton Buzzard Cadets who over the past two years have been involved in 18 fund raising activities.  These events have been in support of local community groups helping raise money for their funds.  They also include a large number of activities raising funds for the Fire Fighters Charity totalling over £3,000 and raising funds for their cadet unit totalling nearly £2,000.

They continue to represent the Service and have established themselves within Leighton Buzzard as being the Cadet group of choice for the Rotary Club.  They have recently received visits from such distinguished guests as the Town Mayor; Metropolitan Police Explosives detection dogs, local PCSO’s and have taken part in Trauma Care, BA and RTC training.  They are always extremely enthusiastic and work extremely hard to achieve such fantastic results.

The award is collected by:

Amy Dann

Jordan Field

Matthew Graham

Josh Harding

Jamie Randall

Daniel Smith

Liam Smith

Ethan Venables


Organisational Excellence

This year it is awarded to Helen Hitchcock in respect of work she has undertaken in the procurement of a new Management Information System for Community Safety (Protection), this has been on a voluntary basis and recognises her professionalism, excellence and innovation and Helen’s commitment and attention to detail.


Contributing to Young People Award

Sponsored by Bedfordshire on Sunday.

This award recognises the outstanding support work the winner has facilitated, instigated and introduced to maintain contact and involvement with the Fire Service by vulnerable members of the Community.  This typifies her commitment to her role and to the core principles of the Service, but it also shows her personal drive to make the extra effort to improve the life opportunities of young people.  The award was presented by Katy Hallam, News Editor at Bedfordshire on Sunday to Miss Jordanna Simpson.


Twenty-Five Year Long Service Awards

Station Commander Allan Robertson (Luton Fire Station)

Watch Commander Martin Smith (Dunstable Fire Station)

Watch Commander Steve Sugars (Dunstable Fire Station)

On-Call Firefighter Destry Branum (Sandy Fire Station)

Mr Ray Amiss – Retired, Ampthill Fire Station


Qualifications Gained

Post Graduate Certificate in Strategic Leadership (with merit) awarded to Andrew Peckham


The Institution of Fire Engineers Level 3 Certificate in Fire Science, Operations Fire Safety & Management awarded to Firefighter Alexis Claxton, Firefighter Kieran Walsh and On-Call Firefighter Matthew Dear

The IFE Risk Assessor award is given to Watch Commander John Field, Mr Robin Doughty

BTEC Level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management & Leadership is awarded to Area Commander Darren Cook and Group Commander Adrian Yule


Human Resource Practice CIPD Level 5 Certificate is awarded to Mrs Katie Martin.