Team of the Year

StrongArm Challenge, Durham & Darlington and Tyne & Wear

The StrongArm challenge is a joint Durham and Darlington and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue team fundraising over a number of years in memory of firefighter Peter Metcalfe, who died at 35 after a brief battle with cancer. The team has raised approximately £60,000 for the Charity and Make a Wish Foundation to date. After a successful inaugural year, on consecutive days in 2014 they swam eight miles in Ullswater, completed a mountain triathlon and the Total Warrior 10 mile assault course carrying a paraplegic team member and then cycled 100 miles home. This team has huge commitment and cooperation skills!

Best Newcomer

Sarah Lewis, Royal Berkshire

Sarah joined Royal Berkshire as Service Coordinator in November 2013, with a goal of making Royal Berkshire the leading fundraising fire service in the country. Since then, Sarah has been pivotal in ensuring that income has increased – in just one year, funds raised went up by c.670%, including a single town centre collection that made almost £10,000! Royal Berkshire also won an award for its National Car Wash fundraising, moving from £282 in 2013/14 to £15,963 in 2014/15. She has also placed 12 clothes recycling banks across the county, and even took part in a Spinnaker Tower abseil.

Supporter of the Year

Martin Lown, Herefordshire

Martin is a passionate advocate of the Charity who pushes his body to physical limits to raise money for us! He began his fundraising with a 2012 ascent of Kilimanjaro, followed in 2013 by Mt Everest Base Camp, and this year took on Mt Toubkal in North Africa. Not wanting to do things by half, Martin challenged himself even more by climbing these three peaks in full fire kit and carrying a specially adapted breathing apparatus set to act as a rucksack. Through these climbs, Martin has raised over £12,000 for the Charity, acting as an inspirational leader to other fundraisers. As well as his personal fundraising, Martin is the Service Coordinator for the Charity in Hereford and Worcester and helped the service raise nearly £90,000 in 2013/14.

Fire Service of the Year

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue

Despite being a relatively small Service, Bedfordshire makes a big contribution to the work of The Fire Fighters Charity. With Bedfordshire coming in the top five FRS’ in the UK in terms of income per head for two years running, a strategic approach to fundraising has resulted in outstanding growth. Having set itself an ambitious fundraising target of £70k for the Charity’s 70th anniversary, Bedfordshire went on to raise a record-breaking £75k in 2013/14 and has since gone on to match that in 2014/15, bringing in income significantly above target. This growth has happened despite a reduction in the Service’s establishment and workforce figures, an increase on everyone’s workload and pressures on organisational finances. Bedfordshire has demonstrated exceptional commitment to fundraising, supporting national events and adopting an innovative approach to local activities.

Corporate Supporter of the Year


Autoglym has supported the Charity’s signature event, the National Car Wash year after year by providing shampoo for all stations. This support equates to £40,000 worth of shampoo each year, ensuring that the Charity can maximise the profit from the event and the impact of stations’ efforts. Without this generous donation the event would simply not be viable. Thanks to Autoglym’s unstinting support we have been able to wash thousands of vehicles to a tip top standard and raise hundreds of thousands of pounds in the process.

Beneficiary of Courage

Peter Lau, West Yorkshire

Station Manager Peter suffered a life-changing spinal injury after a cycling accident, leaving him in a wheelchair. After the accident, he spent months recovering in hospital and attended rehabilitation with the Charity. Despite suffering numerous knock backs due to the severity of his injuries, Pete continues to be an inspiration to all those who know him, motivating and inspiring other patients in their mental and physical recovery. He continues his fundraising efforts for the Charity and others, committed to making a difference no matter what.

Youth of Courage

Joe Bowers, South Yorkshire

Joe is an outstanding young man – rescued from a house fire in Rotherham back in 2001, he suffered terrible burns and spent months in hospital. Put up for adoption at a young age, Joe has faced everything from plastic surgery and facial reconstruction to amputations and muscle transplants. Joe was then adopted by Phil and Tracy and their loving family. Phil is now a volunteer with South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, supporting work in the community to help prevent fires like the one which changed Joe’s life forever. A sweet and loving young man, when Joe visits a fire station or South Yorkshire’s headquarters, he warms the hearts of everyone he meets.

Adult Hero

Gareth Salmon, London

When Gareth became aware of a fire near his residence, he entered the communal area of the flat block where he believed the fire to be and alerted the other residents. He was informed that an elderly resident was probably still in their flat. Ignoring the danger to himself, Mr Salmon entered the flat. Forced to retreat, he entered another way, gaining access before an explosion blew him out of the door. He once again re-entered the property, located the occupant and removed her to a place of safety. As he left the premises there was a much larger explosion – fortunately, he came to no harm.

Firefighter of the Year

Joe Thornton and Richard Jordan, Humberside

In 2014, Immingham Fire Station’s Green Watch was mobilised to an incident where a man was threatening to set fire to himself in his shed. On arrival, there was a strong smell of petrol and smoke issuing from the shed door. The officer in charge instructed the team to enter the shed and remove the individual. Richard applied gas cooling techniques and Joe opened the door – as he did so, the man in the shed threw an open can of petrol at them and slammed the door shut. Without hesitation and no idea how much petrol may have been on them both, Joe forced the door open whilst Richard used a cone spray to extinguish and protect them from any flames and threat of ignition to the petrol or themselves. Joe then removed the man from the shed and pinned him to the floor.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Tony Dale, Norfolk

Tony has been supporting the Charity for an admirable 51 years, first becoming a member in 1963. He has been a Brigade Secretary, Member of the National Council, Company Member, Service Coordinator, Home Visitor and a dedicated fundraiser. During this time, Tony had a quadruple bypass which never slowed him down and he continues to support the Charity despite his health. As one of our most loyal members, Tony is dedicated to helping those in need and his can-do attitude is an inspiration to everyone. For this reason, we are proud to announce Tony as the winner of the Lifetime Achievement award.