Northumberland firefighters honoured for their bravery and long service

Awards handed out to members of the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service who have put themselves at risk for others

From left, bravery award recipient Lindsay Bowling-Mowatt; the High Sheriff of Northumberland John Carr-Ellison, Chief Fire Officer Alex Bennett; Northumbria Police award recipient Bruce Black; long service and good conduct medal recipients Richard Leighton and George Gordon and Group Manager Les Embleton
From left, bravery award recipient Lindsay Bowling-Mowatt; the High Sheriff of Northumberland John Carr-Ellison, Chief Fire Officer Alex Bennett; Northumbria Police award recipient Bruce Black; long service and good conduct medal recipients Richard Leighton and George Gordon and Group Manager Les Embleton

A fearless off-duty firefighter who tackled blazing sand dunes at a North East beauty spot was among Northumberland crew members recognised for their service.

Lindsay Bowling Mowatt, of Morpeth, was presented with a chief fire officer’s bravery award in a ceremony at the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service headquarters in West Hartford.

Special guests John Carr-Ellison, High Sheriff of Northumberland, and Coun Kathy Graham, Northumberland County Council’s civic head, heard how the firefighter fought the flames at Druridge Bay last July after arsonists lit dry grass and wood. Lindsay brought the blaze under control and made the area safe for families.

Another bravery award went to Green Watch, based at headquarters, which chief fire officer Alex Bennett said “demonstrated exceptional bravery, skills and outstanding team work” when dealing with a serious house fire in Forster Avenue, Bedlington, at 1am on July 18 last year. A number of people were trapped and rescued from the burning building, including a young boy.

David Dixon, a retained firefighter from Haltwhistle, picked up the chief fire officer’s certificate of commendation after he sprang into action to save the life of an elderly woman when he spotted smoke coming from her flat as he walked past. The 51-year-old broke through the door and crawled under the smoke, to drage the woman several yards to safety before on-duty firemen wearing breathing apparatus arrived to put out the blaze.

The Northumbria Police award, presented by chief superintendent Gordon Millward, went to Bruce Black from Berwick Blue Watch, who helped a man to safety from the Royal Border Bridge last month.

Meanwhile, long service medals were awarded to Keith Carmichael, Ponteland crew manager for 21 years, George Gordon, Berwick firefighter of 23 years, Richard Leighton, Berwick watch manager of 24 years, Craig Mole, Pegswood crew manager for 20 years, Guy Tiffin, Hexham watch manager for 22 years, Hexham firefighter John Wilkinson,

who boasts 27 years of service, and Elizabeth Wright, fire control watch manager of 21 years, as well as corporate staff members Ron Wright, who has spent 35 years with the service, and Ian Clough who has 33 years under his belt, of which 17 were in Northumberland.

A certificate of recognition was also awarded to Eric Fail for his work as coach at the service’s boxing academy at West Hartford, while certificates of achievement were awarded to young apprentices Bethany Cross and Conor Reed who work in the community safety department by Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council and policy board member for the fire and rescue service. Coun Ledger said: “I felt very privileged to be able to be part of this event which recognises and celebrates the hard work and dedication of our firefighters, fire service staff, partners and important volunteers.”

Marks and Spencer’s Morpeth store received a partnership prize in thanks for their support of the Firefighters’ Charity - raising over £9,000 last year - and four pupils from

Northburn Primary School were handed gift vouchers and framed copies of the fire safety posters they entered into a competition.

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