Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service Press Release

Community heroes and fire and rescue staff are an inspiration to us all

Dame Janet Trotter and Station Commander Brian Burns

Community heroes and fire and rescue staff who have shown commitment and dedication to the county service were celebrated at the inaugural Inspire Celebration of Achievement Awards last night (Wednesday 4th September).

The awards, which were presented at Gloucester South fire station, recognised people in the community who have shown great courage or worked tirelessly alongside Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS), while staff were honoured with long-service and good conduct medals.

Awards were presented by local dignitaries including HM Lord-Lieutenant for Gloucestershire Dame Janet Trotter, Gloucestershire County Council cabinet member for fire, planning and infrastructure Cllr Will Windsor-Clive and chair of the county council Cllr Tony Hicks.

Gloucestershire's Chief Fire Officer Jon Hall said: "Everyone in this room is someone who has inspired heroism and excellence. We are incredibly proud of everything achieved in this community and these awards are to recognise the fact that so many of you have given your time and energy for others' benefit without seeking reward."

"More than that, this is one of the few opportunities we get to thank those friends, families and loved ones who support what we do. This is about feeling proud of everyone who makes this service what it is."

Among those in the community to receive awards were:

A special commendation in recognition of courage, bravery and resolution was awarded to firefighters Adrian Knight, Iain Robertson and Kate Grundy and Crew Commander Andy Rood.

All four played a vital role in rescuing 84-year-old Betty Hodgkiss after a gas explosion ripped through her home in Rosehill Street, Cheltenham on 10th May last year.

The building was reduced to rubble by the blast and there was no knowing how structurally sound the neighbouring properties were, or if the gas cloud would cause a secondary explosion. But, despite this, all four played a crucial role in locating Mrs Hodgkiss and taking her to safety.

Group Commander Tally Giampa said: "We are massively relieved that none of our firefighters were injured and that Betty was rescued safely. This incident highlights the dangers that firefighters face in the course of their jobs and their bravery and determination to save lives whatever the risks."

Of all the recipients of community awards and long-service awards, Cllr Will Windsor-Clive said: "I am so proud of each and everyone here who has gone that extra mile to make a difference in their community."

"This has been a fantastic chance to tell those people who have shown such dedication and commitment that their efforts are appreciated and I hope we recognise our county heroes in this way for many years to come."

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Issued by: Keith Coles, Gloucestershire County Council media team, 01452 425391

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5th September 2013