Celebrating WMFS Excellence

Breathtaking bravery and outstanding dedication to keeping the West Midlands safe provided the focus for tonight’s (12 October) WMFS Aspire 2012 Awards.

Firefighters, support staff and members of the public from across the region were honoured with ten awards presented in front of 500 guests at the ICC in Birmingham.

Firefighter Paul McCarron, of Sutton Coldfield fire station’s Blue Watch, was named Hero of the Year, along with his friend Richard Ross, for their remarkable efforts in leading nearly 40 people to safety from a burning apartment block while they were on holiday in Majorca.

Following an online public vote, this year’s Fire Station of the Year title went to Stourbridge, in recognition of impressive team effort in improving local communities’ safety. The ICC audience heard details of youth initiatives, road and home safety work, and efforts to reduce arson and anti-social behaviour which clinched the title for the station’s firefighters and staff.

Photos of Aspire 2012

Photos of the event are now available on our Flickr account.

Videos of Aspire 2012

The videos from the evening are now available to view on our YouTube channel.

The full list of Aspire 2012 winners can be viewed below. For more information on each of the winners please click on the links.

Outstanding Contribution to West Midlands Fire Service

Watch Commander Gavin Pardoe, Dudley Fire Station, Purple Watch

Partnership Achievement

Coventry Operations Command

Operational Excellence

Sheldon Fire Station, White Watch - Watch Commander Mark Engers, Firefighters Leigh Kelly, Richard Simmonds and Vincent Marshall, and former WMFS Firefighter Gareth Bond

Community Engagement

The Aurora Team (brigade-wide)
Aurora Booklet

Volunteers Award

Coventry community volunteers Jack King and Carol Bolton

Innovation and Creativity

Watch Commanders Darren North and Peter Luckin of Operational Training Support/the WMFS Academy

Environmental Award

Elaine Debenham of the headquarters-based Safety, Health and Environment team

Support Section of the Year

Quality Assurance and Control Section,WMFS Academy

Fire Station of the Year

Stourbridge Community Fire Station

Hero of the Year

Firefighter Paul McCarron of Sutton Coldfield Fire Station, Blue Watch and Richard Ross

Vij Randeniya, Chief Fire Officer for the West Midlands, said: “I never ceased to be amazed by the professionalism and commitment shown by our firefighters, staff and volunteers.

“At a time when our service is having to cope with unprecedented financial cuts, and inevitable changes to how we operate, I’m immensely proud to see people throughout the brigade responding to the challenge in style.

“Our Aspire Awards illustrate the sheer breadth of services offered by West Midlands Fire Service, and the impressive range of skills and talents found among our operational and support staff. The simple fact is that the West Midlands is all the safer because of them. I thank them not only as Chief Fire Officer, but on behalf of the 2.7 million people they protect and serve around the clock.”

CFO Randeniya presented the awards with Steve Hanson, Marks and Spencer’s Fire Health and Safety Manager - Property and Store Development. The company’s generous sponsorship covered the full cost of the Aspire 2012 event.

Mr Hanson said: “M&S enjoy very strong links with West Midlands Fire Service. The award winners’ efforts are remarkable. It is our absolute pleasure to be associated with the Aspire awards, and to help WMFS celebrate excellence in this way.”

Guests at the ICC event were entertained by musicians from both the WMFS Wind Band and Pipes and Drums, as well as aerialist performers, magicians and a ‘laser violinist’.

Here are a few of the comments we received from guests and partners:-

I wish to congratulate you on another superb Aspire awards. In my opinion it was even better than last year, and obviously our thanks go to M&S for sponsoring it. The purpose of my e-mail was to let you know that I thought that your closing speech was superb and above all inspirational. Thank you

Just a short message for Vij to thank him very much indeed for an excellent evening on Friday. I thoroughly enjoyed the company of Linda and Dave and the rest of the table, not to mention the aerial cabaret and press up competition! Great evening, thanks again for inviting me.

Thank you for inviting me to the Aspire awards, which were yet again hugely enjoyable and very inspiring. I particularly enjoyed the company of your Chair, Cllr Edwards, The Bishop and Helen from LGA, and the TA guy was very interesting too. Really good fun!

Just a note to thank you for inviting me to the West Midlands Fire Service Awards dinner last Friday. Although the awards are called “Aspire” they were in fact inspiring.

The commitment shown by your colleagues was truly wonderful. Thank you again for your kind invitation.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for inviting me to the Aspire Awards. I was inspired by your key note speech and indeed those who received awards. West Midlands Fire Service are doing a great work within the community.

Last Friday was one of the most humbling evenings it has been my pleasure to be involved with. You are blessed with some truly outstanding people in your team. I have made some of the senior managers in the business aware of the special buzz created on Friday, and the honour of being associated with an event of this stature.

Last Friday was one of the most humbling evenings it has been my pleasure to be involved with. You are blessed with some truly outstanding people in your team. I have made some of the senior managers in the business aware of the special buzz created on Friday, and the honour of being associated with an event of this stature.

Just a short note to say thank you for inviting me to your awards on Friday night.

Yet again it was filled with confidence, commitment and excellence. Your teams really show their dedication.

Thank you for inviting me to your awards ceremony. It was a splendid event and I thoroughly enjoyed myself from start to finish

I was hugely impressed with all those who were nominated for awards. Their stories were inspiring and certainly gave me food for thought.

Thank you for the invitation to the WMFS Aspire Awards last week. The awards themselves were inspiring. Trying to support, inspire and motivate people when there are so many uncertainties on the horizon is never easy, but I’m sure you managed it. I was left questioning whether I was made of ‘the right stuff’ and left feeling a little inadequate after hearing the amazing stories you shared.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for inviting me to the Aspire Awards. I was inspired by your key note speech and indeed those who received awards. West Midlands Fire Service are doing great work within the community.

Thank you very much indeed for a superb event last Friday night, really first class, most enjoyable. As I think I transmitted to you there was an awfully good feeling about the evening, a most attractive team ambience, capped by an inspirational speech from the Chief.

Thank you very much indeed for a superb event last Friday night, really first class, most enjoyable. As I think I transmitted to you there was an awfully good feeling about the evening, a most attractive team ambience, capped by an inspirational speech from the Chief.

Just a short note to say thank you for the invitation to the Aspire Awards on Friday. It was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening.

Thank you for a fantastic evening at the West Midlands Fire Service Aspire Awards ceremony last Friday. It was a wonderful event, beautifully put together and showed your Service off in the best possible light. I was taken with the enthusiasm of your officers and staff who were nominated and they were all perfect hosts. As an opportunity to thank your staff the evening was outstanding and I know how much the public recognition of their hard and brave work means to all your staff.

I have to close by mentioning that I was inspired by your talk and the ‘right stuff.’ It was a super talk that hit home and seized the moment.

What can I say? The evening showed the commitment, loyalty, courage, humour and all the traits required from members of your force – and you honoured them – with style.

Thanks to everyone who attended the WMFS Aspire Awards, you helped to make it a special evening for all the nominees and winners.

Thank you very much for inviting me to your annual awards ceremony, it was a great evening.I was very moved by some of the inspirational stories I heard, you have great people – all of whom have the ‘right stuff.’