More Than Just Fires Awards 2023: Celebrating Hard Work and Dedication

On Friday, November 10th, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service (MAWWFRS) hosted its annual More Than Just Fires Awards Ceremony at the Metropole Hotel and Spa in Llandrindod Wells.

The evening was hosted by the most-capped referee in world rugby, Nigel Owens MBE and was a special opportunity to give thanks and recognise the remarkable efforts, hard work and dedication by Service staff and volunteers from across the Service area, over the 12 months.

Nigel Owens MBE hosting the ceremony.

The ceremony included a total of 11 award categories, which were awarded to individuals and teams who were nominated by their peers and colleagues, it included an award for Outstanding Contribution, Charity Champion and the Chief Fire Officer’s Bravery Award, to name but a few. 

At the end of the evening, there was a special commendation presented by the Chief Fire Officer (CFO), Roger Thomas, to MAWWFRS crew members who form part of the UK’s International Search and Rescue Team (UK-ISAR).  This year alone, the UK-ISAR Team have been deployed to Turkey and Morocco to support search and rescue efforts following devastating natural disasters.

Speaking during the ceremony, CFO Thomas said:

“This evening is a special occasion where we gather to celebrate the outstanding efforts, dedication and bravery of all those who contribute to the Service.

We have come together to not only recognise the exceptional individuals and teams who have gone above and beyond in the call of duty, but also to demonstrate that our role in society is indeed ‘More Than Just Fires’.

We don’t take enough time to celebrate our great achievements to make mid and west Wales a safer place to live, work and visit.”

The winners were as follows;

Outstanding Contribution Award

The winner of the first award for Outstanding Contribution and was presented to Station Manager Hannah Lodder-Rodda for consistently going above and beyond expectations to ensure the Service’s vision, mission and values are always met.

Also shortlisted were Watch Manager Philip Barry of Pembroke Dock Fire Station and Station Manager Robert Tovey from the Operational Equipment and Assurance Department.

 

Team of the Year Award

The Team of the Year Award recognises a group or team who have gone over and above in their contribution and commitment to MAWWFRS and was presented to the Joint Fire Control (JFC) Team.  The JFC Team were awarded for their consistent professionalism when dealing with challenging circumstances and dealing with anything from 200 to 1,500 calls within a 24-hour period.

Also shortlisted were the Trauma Risk Management Team and the Service Estates Team.

 

Volunteer of the Year Award

The Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded to Aron Curtis who has progressed from a Fire Cadet to Service Volunteer and most recently a Cadet Instructor.  Aron regularly goes above and beyond to represent the Service and is driven for success.

Also shortlisted were Leanne Griffiths and Joanna Owen.

 

Young Achiever Award

The Young Achiever Award was the fourth category of the evening and was awarded to both Macy Bennett and Arianna Protheroe for their exemplary dedication and support to Service events.

 

Community and Partnership Award

The evening’s fifth award was the Community and Partnership Award and was presented to Seamus Doyle due to his work in maintaining collaborative partnerships which have resulted the use of UV-filtered water being used at operational incidents which is a world-first.

Also shortlisted were the Northern Division Business Fire Safety Team and Pembroke Dock Fire Station.

 

Charity Champion Award

The Charity Champion Award was presented to the ‘Yr Her Fawr’ (Big Challenge) Team for their awe-inspiring charitable efforts, cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats and raising over £15,000 for The Fire Fighters Charity, Cerebral Palsy Cymru and 2wish.

Also shortlisted were Watch Manager Carl Williams and Llandeilo Fire Station.

 

Sports and Social Club Award

The seventh award of the evening was the Sports and Social Club Award which was awarded to the Flaming Fierce Rounders Team for breaking league records and averaging 24 rounders per game, as well as promoting fitness, equality and diversity within the Service.

Also shortlisted were Eddie Williams for his work in the Bowls section and the Service Rugby Team.

 

Northern Division Station of the Year Award

The Northern Division Station of the Year Award was presented to Machynlleth Fire Station, due to the crew consistently going above and beyond when serving their local community.  They face challenges with staff retention due to their remote location, but still manage to maintain operational availability and keep a positive outlook.

The other shortlisted stations were Aberystwyth Fire and Station and Presteigne Fire Station.

 

Western Division Station of the Year

The Western Division Station of the Year Award was presented to Carmarthen Fire Station in recognition of their charitable work and community engagement.  They also have several specialist assets which include Line Rescue, Arial Appliance Capability, Swift Water and Boat Rescue.  The crew are highly motivated and have a commendable work ethic.

Also shortlisted were Tenby Fire Station and Haverfordwest Fire Station.

 

Southern Division Station of the Year

It was Cymer Fire Station that won the Southern Division Station of the Year Award, due to the crew being an excellent example of a group of individuals who are completely dedicated to their local area and keeping their community safe, despite being a crew of only six On-Call Firefighters.

Also shortlisted were Pontarddulais Fire Station and Pontardawe Fire Station.

 

Chief Fire Officer’s Bravery Award

The final award of the evening was the Chief Fire Officer's Bravery Award, which recognises an individual or group who have responded in a commendable way as a result of an act of bravery.

Following deliberation by the Shortlisting Panel, it became clear that it was impossible to select one winner for the CFO’s Bravery Award, and after hearing the amazing and heroic actions by each nominee, it was decided that they were all worthy winners:

Crew Manager Lee Murray

Crew Manager Murray administered life-saving CPR to a member of the public while off-duty at his local leisure centre.  His quick-thinking and control over the situation resulted in a defibrillator being brought quickly to the casualty and by the time the ambulance arrived, the casualty had regained consciousness.

Firefighter Liam Davies and Firefighter Jonathan Carter

While off-duty and travelling to their full-time work, On-Call Firefighters Davies and Carter were the first to come across a near-fatal road traffic collision.  Both Firefighters immediately started assisting at the incident and took it in turns to administer CPR on a casualty while waiting for Service colleagues and an ambulance to arrive.

Firefighter Jon Griffiths and Firefighter Rhys Tall

During a difficult and challenging incident, Firefighters Griffiths and Tall were tasked with providing access to Police personnel to an individual on a three-storey building.  During the incident, both Firefighters gained the trust of the individual who eventually became cooperative and was able to be brought to safety.

 

UK-ISAR

The evening was brought to a close with a special Chief Fire Officer Commendation to Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service personnel who form part of the UK’s International Search and Rescue Team (UK-ISAR). 

The UK-ISAR Team are on-call 24-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year to respond to humanitarian incidents, accidents or disasters anywhere in the world, to provide a search and rescue capability and support humanitarian efforts. The team has been operating for over 20 years and has components from 13 UK Fire and Rescue Services, who have successfully carried out search, rescue and relief missions around the world.

 

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate those shortlisted for each award, also thanks to Pure Tech Audio Visual, Martin Ellard and the Metropole Hotel and Spa for their vital support in hosting a most enjoyable evening.

For all the official photographs by Martin Ellard, please visit our Facebook page.