Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Eastbourne firefighters invited to Downing Street for top award

Eastbourne’s ‘Blazing Saddles’ team were announced as one of the winners at the 2012 eighth annual Spirit of Fire Awards last Friday (19th October) in front of a star-studded audience. 

They scooped the title of Supporter of the Year (Team) and brushed shoulders with VIPs at the national award ceremony.

They met The Right Honourable Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, at a special reception at Downing Street, after which the nominees made their way to the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel, where they received their awards during a prestigious ceremony presented by newsreader Nicholas Owen.

The Blazing Saddles team from Eastbourne’s Community Fire Station raised an amazing £16,370 for CLIC Sargent and the Fire Fighters Charity from their epic trip around the UK on mopeds, as well as numerous other fundraising events.

Crew Manager Bob Newton said: 

“Our visit to Belfast Hospital Children’s Cancer Ward was a very humbling and moving experience for us all. The children loved our visit and we were all so pleased and proud to meet them. We will never forget our four days away raising money for our two chosen charities.

“The awards ceremony was a wonderful end to a fantastic 18 months + of fund raising. We were all so pleased to win. The Team had such a great time, it was brilliant. Green Watch now looks forward to our next fund raising challenge.” 

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Gary Walsh, praised the hard work of the team:

“ESFRS is immensely proud of what the Blazing Saddles team have achieved. They worked hard to raise as much money as they possibly could for these two worthy charities. We have nothing but adulation and praise for what they have done and are delighted that they have received the recognition that they deserve in this prestigious award.” 

Commenting on the many achievements recognised at The Spirit of Fire 2012, Eric Pickles MP said:

“These awards are a fantastic opportunity to proudly showcase the very best of our fire and rescue service and also to show our admiration for those who have battled in the face of adversity, or performed a heroic act of bravery and courage.  The Fire Fighters Charity helps all members of the fire service community during their times of need – that’s serving and retired fire service personnel - and their selflessly supportive families.  It’s an honour to be recognising the Charity’s supporters and beneficiaries at the Spirit of Fire awards.”  

Celebrities who attended the evening’s ceremony included Rudolph Walker, Natalie J. Robb, Bhasker Patel, Tony Hirst, Ian Puleston-Davies, Ken Livingstone, Jacqui Hames, Lorraine Chase, Michelle Heaton, Jamie Rickers, Anna Williamson, Lawrie McMenemy MBE and Kevin Keegan OBE.  As well as stars from the stage and screen, a number of the country’s successful Olympic medal-winning athletes joined the celebrations.  

Spirit of Fire 2012 was hosted by The Fire Fighters Charity, the UK’s leading provider of services that enhance quality of life for serving and retired fire service personnel and their families. The Charity is available for all members of the fire service community during their time of need, assisting thousands of individuals every year by providing pioneering rehabilitation treatment and support services.  

It costs £9million every year to meet the needs of the Charity’s beneficiaries in the fire service family. With no government funding, the Charity relies upon donations from the general public and fire community.

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