Team of Year title won by Oxfordshire firefighters

Firefighter Pete MacKay holds the award with station manager Simon Sumners, left, and resources manager Clive Durbin Picture: OX67475 Ed Nix

Firefighter Pete MacKay holds the award with station manager Simon Sumners, left, and resources manager Clive Durbin Picture: OX67475 Ed Nix Buy this photo

First published in News

FIREFIGHTERS have won an award for completing a cycle ride to Oxford’s twin city in Germany.

The team of 20 firefighters and support staff from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service set off on a 463-mile ride from Oxford to Bonn in Germany last July.

The group, with members across Oxfordshire, was honoured in the Spirit of Fire Awards where it won in the Team of the Year category.

They raised more cash per firefighter than any brigade in the country for their exploits.

The bike ride ended in Bonn to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Bonn Fire Service, and they were joined by their German counterparts along the way In Belgium, who completed the ride to Germany with them.

They raised more than £14,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity and many of the firefighters took part in memory of colleague Joe Wilkins who died in a collision with a car while cycling in May 2012.

The awards recognise acts of bravery and outstanding dedication to the charity, which helps serving and retired firefighters and their families.

Kidlington firefighter Pete MacKay was one of the group organising the ride.

He said: “It is absolutely brilliant that we won this award. A lot of work went into this by a lot of people to get us there.

“To be recognised for that and the work we have done with our colleagues in Germany is great, and it is just as much for them as it is for us.

“We have been waiting to hear since before Christmas so it has been quite a nerve-wracking time. It is very special to us.”

The team members also spent time over the past nine months voluntarily promoting cycle safety awareness to primary school children.

Chief fire officer Dave Etheridge said: “I am extremely proud that Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service has been named Team of the Year and I would like to personally thank every member of my staff involved for the great effort that was put in raising the money through the cycle ride and for volunteering their own time to promote cycle safety to youngsters.

“The Fire Fighters Charity is an excellent charity which supports serving and retired firefighters and their families and Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to support it in any way that we can.”

Councillor Louise Chapman, the councillor responsible for the service at the county council, said: “Residents of Oxfordshire are fortunate that they have an extremely dedicated Fire and Rescue Service who go that extra mile to support the community and this award is recognition of the excellent work that is done locally.’’

THE PARTICIPANTS

  • The riders: Pete Mackay, Clive Durbin, Simon Sumners, Gary Mattingley, David Bray, George Day, Mike Brooker, Bob Giles, Nigel Woods, Josie Fullerton, Damion Walker, Simon Jeffery, Owen Pates, Martyn Sadler, John Campbell, Mark Keely
  • Support team: Arthur Jordan, Gordon Belcher, Amy Palmer, Dave Smith, Kevin Dell




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