Rewards and Recognition celebration 2023

Driven. Dedicated. Professional. Meet our 2023 award winners!



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Published on 17 November 2023

Congratulations to all of our winners and finalists!

Inspirational stories of firefighting excellence, service to our communities and personal achievement took centre stage at our Rewards and Recognition Celebration 2023.

Last night’s event (16 November), held at Birmingham’s ICC, threw a spotlight on the amazing people who ensure that our wide range of services make West Midlands communities safer, stronger and healthier. Colleagues submitted more than 100 nominations.

Throughout the evening, special mentions were given to a number of colleagues. They included Crew Manager Edward Robertson, based at Wolverhampton fire station, for achieving an incredible 45 years’ service with West Midlands Fire Service.

Tributes were also paid to colleagues we have lost this year, including Crew Manager Iain Hughes who tragically died during his cross-Channel swim attempt.

Iain was posthumously awarded our ‘Making A Difference’ award, and it was announced that, going forward, the award will be renamed and presented in his memory as ‘The Iain Hughes Award for Making a Difference’.

Wayne Brown, our Chief Fire Officer, said: “It was my privilege to present awards to our worthy winners, and to recognise the contributions of so many other colleagues in the room who make West Midlands Fire Service what it is.

“I’m incredibly proud of our driven, dedicated people and the professionalism they display all year round. I am supremely confident we can, and will, continue to demonstrate why we are the UK’s best fire and rescue service.”

Councillor Greg Brackenridge, Chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “Last night’s event was a fitting celebration of the fantastic work carried out by all at West Midlands Fire Service.

“My fellow authority members and I are committed to ensuring that our service continues to be outstanding, but also continues to improve – and that is only possible thanks to the efforts and excellence of our people.”

We’re extremely grateful to the generous sponsors of our celebration evening – UKG, PBI, FireHawk and Zebra Technologies.

Chief Fire Officer Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown

Chief Fire Officer

I’m incredibly proud of our driven, dedicated people and the professionalism they display year-round.

Team of the Year

Fire Investigation and Prevention Section For meticulous, compassionate work, excellence in digital training packages and high standards in every area of work.

Team of the Year Fire Investigation and Prevention Section

Individual of the Year

Joint winners: Watch Manager Brinley Mills – Community Safety, for his work on increasing understanding and awareness around carbon monoxide in local and national prevention work and Hannah Spencer – Community Risk Management Planning Coordinator, Portfolio, for her dedication to UK International Search and Rescue, our Incident Room and Chief Fire Officer support roles alongside her job as CRMP coordinator.

Individual of the Year Watch Manager Brinley Mills and Hannah Spencer

Making A Difference Award

Winners: Ladywood Purple Watch, for their ongoing support to the Daniel Baird Foundation, enhancing the roll-out of community bleed kits across Birmingham.

Also awarded posthumously to Crew Manager Iain Hughes (please see above).

Making A Difference Award - Ladywood Purple Watch

Digital and Innovation Award

Winner: Kelly Letts – Project Management, Portfolio, for the development and ongoing training around 3PT, embedding it as the project management structure for the service.

Digital and Innovation Award Kelly Letts

Operational Excellence Award

Winners: Billesley White Watch, for innovation and the calm and precise use of equipment during the rescue of a man impaled by both legs on a fence, reducing the risk of catastrophic injury and sharing good practice.

Operational Excellence Award Billesley White Watch

Our People Award

Winner: Julie Farruggia, Organisational Learning and People Development, for dedicating a decade to improving awareness and understanding of neurodiversity, supporting neurodiverse staff and their managers to make work a positive environment.

Our People Award Julie Farruggia

Our Pride Award

Winner: Mick Sealey, Senior Maintenance Assistant, Facilities Management, for efficiently and effectively carrying out his role, going above and beyond without question at fire station open days, when staff fall ill and much more, often quietly in the background.

Our Pride Award Mick Sealey

Team of the Year finalists:

Foleshill White Watch, for contributions towards excellence in the workplace, demonstration of professionalism during many challenging operational incidents and showing resilience and compassion within the community.

Station Peer Assessments team, for working tirelessly in an ever-changing environment to build the SPA programme into something teams and individuals across the whole organisation seek to be part of.

Individual of the Year finalist

Louise Currah – Workforce Systems Manager, for single-handedly managing many of the systems (and the team) that we all rely upon to smoothly run the service.

Making A Difference Award finalists

Crew Manager Steve Hodgetts, Brierley Hill Fire Station – for his fundraising efforts for the supply and maintenance of defibrillators and bleed packs across Stourbridge and Amblecote.

Firefighter Daniel McQuillan, Coventry fire station – for his annual efforts to ‘fill a fire engine’ with presents for children in hospital over Christmas.

Digital and Innovation Award finalists

Watch Manager Matthew Bettany, Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control, for his ongoing work to create, develop and embed ‘Crewmate’, a digital solution for Fire Control to complete staffing across the service.

Liz Davies (Category Manager, Procurement) and Watch Manager Simon McGreavy (Response), for leading the £8m procurement of MSA breathing apparatus on behalf of five fire and rescue services.

Operational Excellence Award finalists

Crew Manger Aaron Pell (Organisational Learning and People Development) and Firefighter Nicola Smith (Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control), for calmly and professionally relaying life-saving advice to members of the public during a distressing incident while liaising with West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Perry Barr White Watch – for quick thinking and bravely using a Brigade Response Vehicle to stop a gang of youths attacking two people with weapons, dispersing the gang, and administering trauma care to those injured.

Our People Award finalists

Amy Ciclaire, Data Analyst, Portfolio, for always completing informed, data-driven work to a high standard, always advising to ensure the analysis provides the most value and makes a difference, influencing how the organisation delivers its services.

Watch Manager Grace Lovatt, Staffordshire and West Midlands Fire Control, for compassionate support and understanding to a member of staff returning to work following ill-health, building confidence, trust and reigniting a love for the job.

Our Pride Award finalists

Andrina Allen, Organisational Assurance and Peer Assessment Manager, for her work on implementing Station Peer Assessments and her wonderful sense of conscience and a commitment to doing the right thing for the betterment of WMFS.

Crew Manager Natalie Bellfield, Oldbury Fire Station for acting as a role model and mentor for Oldbury Red Watch and across all Watches, supporting the career development of others and willingness to embrace new skills.