Celebration of Success

Hats off to new firefighter recruits at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service
Hats off to new firefighter recruits at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service


What does a Shropshire beekeeper, rose breeder, professional golfer and survival instructor have in common ?

They are among the latest firefighter recruits to “pass out” after successfully completing the first part of their on going training.

A total of 24 men and women from all walks of life, who joined the service in 2016 and 2017, attended a Celebration of Success event at Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury, tonight.

Another 27 were praised for completing their final development training. They will join more than 300 on call firefighters from 22 county fire stations who respond to 999 calls at a moment’s notice.

Former City management consultant turned bee keeper Charles Millar (60),  from Church Stretton, who runs courses, sells bee colonies and breeds queen bees, said: “I think I may be the oldest firefighter recruit in Shropshire but I’m proud that I passed all the fitness tests.

“It’s in contrast to my quiet life as a beekeeper to get out and do something, work with a team and make a difference.”

David Leach (23), who plays rugby for Cleobury Mortimer, has just quit his post as a professional golfer, but says he is now enjoying being a firefighter after first attending a taster session.

Rose breeder Arunas Balsys (36), who works at David Austin Roses in Albrighton pruning, preparing and pollinating roses, said: “I always wanted to be a firefighter.

“I moved to the UK from Lithuania about eight years ago and my colleague is a crew manager at Albrighton. He encouraged me to join,” said Arunas, who is a firefighter at Tweedale fire station in Telford. 

Chief Fire Officer Rod Hammerton praised Shropshire’s newest recruits who would be called on “at the dead of night” to help people “in peril.” 

“It will be someone from your community and you are the only people who will be able to help them.”

It was grave situations such as the Grenfell fire tragedy in London when firefighters “went in time and time again” that showed the true spirit of what firefighters were all about, said the fire chief.

Firefighters dealt with floods, worked with police and ambulance staff after terror attacks and worked to keep critical services going in bad weather.

“They constantly practice their skills to be part of a team which they can trust and who trusts them. People who become firefighters believe in honour and duty and true public service,” he added.

Presenting “passing out” certificates to the new recruits Councillor Eric Carter, chair of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority, said: “Our firefighters are at the forefront of tragic events. These special people will be there to do the job that they do for you, me and everyone. We should be so proud of them." 

Another 29 employees at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service also received awards from Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Myers for their outstanding contribution to the community or for work achievements.

County employers who let their staff “drop everything” to answer an emergency call were also thanked by Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service and presented with an award at Monday night’s event. (January 22)

More images from the event will be posted tomorrow.

22nd January, 2018
Church Stretton beekeeper Charles Millar (60), who is the county’s oldest recruit, is welcomed into the service by Councillor Eric Carter, chair of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority.
Beekeeper Charles Millar