Firefighters and their families celebrated at the Long Service Good Conduct awards last night

Dedicated firefighters and their families celebrated a combined 300 years of public service at the first of two Long Service and Good Conduct award ceremonies last night (Tuesday 12 October).

Fifteen recipients from GMFRS received the award at the Manchester Training and Development Centre where they celebrated with family and friends. The 20 years’ service medal was presented to each recipient by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mrs. Sharman Birtles.

Although the impacts of COVID-19 have been felt far and wide across emergency services, the recipients have continued to save countless lives and protect people and property from the devastating impacts of fire. They have represented GMFRS commendably throughout the pandemic and continued to face a range of challenging incidents – from working in extreme weather conditions to flood response and road traffic collisions. They have dedicated their working lives to keeping the people and communities of Greater Manchester safe.

Medal recipients were congratulated on their achievements and thanked for their distinguished service and bravery by Chief Fire Officer Dave Russel.  

CFO Russel said: “I want to thank our medal recipients for dedicating their working lives to protecting the public over the last 20 years and doing that with selflessness and courage, demonstrating our Service’s mission, vision and values. I also want to thank their families and friends for their support – they too are part of our fire service family.

“The past few years have been exceptionally difficult for our Service. We have faced a number of challenges and dealt with some significant incidents. Over the past 18 months, our firefighters have adapted to working differently during the pandemic and supporting Greater Manchester’s response to COVID-19, and I am grateful for the work they have done and continue to do in difficult and often complex circumstances in order to protect our communities.”

Looking back over his career at the event, Crew Manager Nick Wharton said: “I feel really honoured and proud to receive my Long Service Good Conduct medal, along with many of my colleagues, tonight. I have loved being in the Service and protecting our communities over the years.

“One of my favourite parts of the job has been the camaraderie and laughs we have with each other. You just can’t put a price on being happy whilst working and I certainly have been so far in my career!"

Closing the ceremony, the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Mrs. Sharman Birtles JP DL said: “It is an exceptional privilege to be invited here today on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen. On behalf of the residents, communities, and businesses across Greater Manchester, thank you for your distinguished service and bravery.

“The officers receiving these medals have obtained a vast wealth of experience that can be passed on to new recruits, and other members of staff at GMFRS. I would like to congratulate each one of you for the great service you do for the communities of Greater Manchester.


“I am delighted to be able to personally thank you for dedicating so much of your lives to protecting the public.”

The Long Service and Good Conduct award was instigated in 1954 by the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, and a Royal Warrant was approved by Her Majesty the Queen. The medal is hand-stamped with the recipient’s name and awarded to those individuals who have kept up an excellent standard in their character and conduct throughout their 20 years with the Fire and Rescue Service.

A further 14 firefighters will receive their Long Service Good Conduct medal at a second event on the 16th November, where High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Mrs. Diane Hawkins JP DL LLB will be presenting the awards.

13/10/2021 12:04 PM