TWO Westbury firefighters have received awards to recognise both achieving 20 years of service to the community.
Martin Fairley and Paul Noke were awarded with medals for long service and good conduct at a special presentation at the Fire Service headquarters in Devizes on Tuesday 8th June. They were presented with the awards by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, John Bush OBE.
The medals were awarded by Royal Warrant on behalf of HM the Queen for “exemplary fire service”. The medal is not one that is awarded automatically: each recipient must be personally recommended by the Chief Fire Officer and the criteria includes “meritorious service and good conduct.”
Martin, who works as a manager in Devizes, has been serving Westbury and the surrounding villages ever since he joined Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service as a retained firefighter 20 years ago. During his career with the service,
Martin has attended a large range of incidents, one of which was a fire at the Lord Lieutenant’s house a couple of years ago near Westbury. “I’ve had a few interesting times!” Martin said. “I have enjoyed it, but it’s very demanding; you have got to have a lot of commitment to the job. Things are a lot different now since when I joined.”
Paul was posted to the White Watch in Salisbury when he started his career with the service in 1990. In 1993 he also joined the retained service in Westbury, rising to the rank of leading firefighter. “It’s such a good job,” he said. “It’s rewarding, it’s esteemed by the public, and it is fun.”
Martin and Paul’s awards were among the 16 long service and good conduct medals presented on the evening. “It’s quite a big thing, apparently nowadays most people only last in the service for around three years,” Martin explained. “Not everyone gets the award, and it can be revoked,” added Paul.
Awards for other firefighters across the county were also made at the presentation. Chief fire officer Andy Goves said, “This is one of the most prestigious and important events in our annual calendar, as it allows us to publicly recognise and thank those members of the Fire & Rescue Service who have served their communities for at least 20 years, employers who support our retained firefighters, and other key members of the service.
“This evening is also my opportunity to formally recognise the actions of firefighters and members of the public who have helped the community above and beyond the call of duty. Firefighting is a very caring profession, but firefighters cannot do this very fulfilling job without total support from their close friends and family, so our thanks go to them too.”