Spirit of fire 2015Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) is celebrating having been shortlisted for a hat-trick of honours at this year’s prestigious Spirit of Fire Awards.

The Spirit of Fire Awards is held annually to honour fire and rescue service staff and members of the public from across the country by recognising bravery within the fire community and dedication to The Fire Fighters Charity.

Further reading: Finalists Announced for Spirit of Fire Awards 2015

Chief Fire Officer Andy Fry said: “To receive one nomination is absolutely fantastic but I am exceptionally proud that we have received three nominations for this year’s Spirit of Fire Awards. We are facing some fierce competition from the other very worthy nominees but I am confident that the hard work and dedication shown by Andy, Sarah and all of our staff in raising money for The Fire Fighters Charity puts us in with a great chance.

“The Fire Fighters Charity does amazing work, providing a whole range of support and services for everyone who works for the fire and rescue service and their families but it is entirely dependent on donations. Since April 2014, RBFRS has raised over £76,000 for the charity and I would like to thank all the members of the public who have helped us achieve this incredible amount by donating so generously at our car washes and other events.”

Firefighter Andy Grist from Slough fire station’s White Watch and Watch Manager Sarah Lewis from Thames Valley Fire Control Service’s Green Watch have both been nominated for the ‘best newcomer of the year’ award.

In 2014, Andy tackled 14 gruelling challenges to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity. When he began his training for The 14 Challenge Andy couldn’t ride a bike, hadn’t swum more than 200m and had never run a marathon. Despite this, he successfully tackled the Isle of Wight Challenge, which involved kayaking the eight miles of the Solent before cycling 22 miles and running 27 miles across the island. His other amazing achievements also included paddling 126-miles of the River Thames and running five ultra-marathons in five days.

Sarah volunteered to take on the role of RBFRS’ charity co-ordinator in November 2013, with a goal of making RBFRS the leading fundraising fire and rescue service in the country. Her efforts have already paid off, with the amount of money raised increasing by an incredible 670% in just one year. With Sarah’s support and guidance, Slough fire station recently won the charity’s national car wash competition for the second year running and she was also instrumental in installing 12 charity clothes recycling banks at fire stations across Berkshire.

RBFRS is also shortlisted in the ‘Fire Service of the Year’ category for transforming from the 34th fire and rescue service, in terms of income per head raised, to 6th. The Service is up against Bedfordshire, Cheshire and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Services for this award.