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Issue 13 Winter 2015

Official magazine of The Fire Fighters Charity

I broke my spine, but look at me now. Spirit of Fire 2015

Awards, winners and memories

Money matters

How to fundraise and support the Charity

hearing matters


0800 03 23 771


Hearing Star

Socially Responsible Audiology & ENT Services in Charitable Partnership with The Fire Fighters Charity Supporting the welfare of the fire fighting community with services run in the best interests of members. We are very proud to serve members of the fire fighting community, and you are forgiven for having never heard of us! You may also be surprised to learn therefore, that your retired and serving police colleagues have been benefitting from our exclusive hearing aid services since 2009. Indeed, we are the National Association of Retired Police Officers’ (NARPO) most popular members’ service. Hearing Star offers a first class Audiology (hearing aid) and ENT service exclusively to members of organisations working in charitable partnership. We provide a caring service with top of the range technology at prices over £400 less than Specsavers. We donate funds to the Fire Fighters’ Charity for each member of the fire fighting community we help. Above all, we act in the best interests of members accessing our services at their home or at the first of five Hear Life Treatment Centres in Lymington, Hants. We have always been a charitable company and so differ greatly from a

Welcome to the winter 2015 issue of Shout! from The Fire Fighters Charity. I can’t quite believe that we’re heading towards the end of the year already. 2015 has been a busy, challenging and rewarding year for the Charity, the highlight of which came when we gathered in London in October for our 10th Spirit of Fire Awards. As ever, the incredible stories of bravery, dedication and courage that we heard on the night were inspiring and humbling in equal measure. It was an honour and a privilege to represent the Charity and our employees, to meet the nominees

The evening was once again preceded by a reception for our nominees at No.10 Downing Street, hosted by Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. It was a measure of the high regard in which the fire and rescue service is held by the Government and an amazing opportunity for our worthy nominees. Our thanks go to Greg Clark and to the Prime Minister’s Office for the opportunity. You can read much more about The Spirit of Fire Awards and our winners in the magazine. There are also some incredible stories in this issue from some of our beneficiaries which illustrate the diverse and often complex nature of the work we do to support members of the fire community, their families and dependants. Working together with beneficiaries, the rehabilitation teams at our three specialist centres across the country have made a real difference to the lives of people like

generosity of our supporters, and I hope it illustrates for you just how important it is that we continue to raise as much fundraising income for the Charity as possible. Should you wish to become a regular donor, the flyer in this issue includes a simple form that you can fill in and return to us by Freepost. I’d also like to take this opportunity to point you towards the merchandise catalogue included in this magazine. We’ve broken records over recent months with our sales of merchandise and, as Christmas approaches, I’m pleased to say we’ve got something for everyone in our online shop, proceeds from which will go directly to helping more beneficiaries. Enjoy the magazine.

Contact Marie Jensen at Hearing Star

typical sales centre. We don’t “sell” to the public, so only members and their families may benefit from our services.We don’t do 50% off, 2-4-1, FREE! or offers that end on Monday. We don’t pay sales commission or carry out sales training. Members often say it’s great they can “escape the high street”. We’re also a great resource for advice on any hearing matter. ®

For The Good and The Brave

Cost Price Batteries

Members’ Easy Pay

Top 16 Channel Digital Hearing

Domiciliary Service

A box of 60 batteries at just £9.99+P&P Mercury free and years of shelf-life

Very popular 0% APR terms for one year with no admin fees and no charges

We supply the very best technology in any style at the same price

We can serve members and their families in the privacy of their home

and winners and to share in the celebration of their achievements.

Jamie (page 13) and Annette (page 30). All of this is paid for through the

Dr Jill Tolfrey Chief Executive

Contents 4 Shout! about it

All the latest news from The Fire Fighters Charity

6 Events

Grab a place at a running event

7 @FFC

Tweets, posts, likes and shares

9 Life supporters

13 Cover story

Beneficiary Jamie Thompson’s astonishing road to recovery

18 Thank you & good luck Your fundraising stories and achievements

24 Spirit of Fire Awards 2015

34 Straight talking How to perfect your posture

36 Mind over matter

How mindfulness can combat anxiety & depression

37 Wake up to breakfast

A night to remember for nominees and winners

Why breakfast really is the most important meal of the day for us all

30 Dependants day

38 Shout+

33 Firefighting fit

42 Competition

Meet two of our Beneficiary Support Coordinators

At last, full control of your instruments’ volume in small steps, for fine adjustment listening to speech or the television.

Fabulous new treatment centre opens in Lymington, Hampshire

Change the program for listening in different environments without the need to draw any attention to your ears. No more fiddling!

The first of five new treatment centres opens to members. More online.

Registered Office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG.

Our Price Includes A Remote Control

For your copy of our brochure Tel: 0800 03 23 771 email: or visit us online at:

10 Helping hand

Who is on the end of the Charity’s Helpline?

Dependant beneficiary Annette Smith’s rehab story.

Introduced by Nursing Services Lead Kath Savage

News and information for the retired community

Win a stylish laptop folio from Elvis and Kresse

Charity registered in England & Wales (1093387) and Scotland (SC040096) Disclaimer: The Fire Fighters Charity believe that the information given in this magazine is correct at the time of going to print. We cannot accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions. The opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the writers and not always that of the Charity. Where external links are provided – to other websites or social media accounts – we do not endorse the content carried on these sites and readers visiting them do so at their own risk.

Shout! about it

Contact the editorial team on or 01256 366566

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Shout! about it Here’s where you’ll find out what we’ve been working on, where, why, with whom and what for within The Fire Fighters Charity. We’re always on the look-out for interesting stories and if you’ve got something newsworthy that you’d like to Shout! about, let us know:


Help for hearing The Fire Fighters Charity has begun a partnership with the charitable company Hearing Star, which delivers socially responsible hearing aid services to members of the emergency services, those who have served their country and, now, the fire service community. The Charity’s Director of Fundraising and Communications, Claire Ross-Baker, said: “The Fire Fighters Charity has agreed a charitable partnership with Hearing Star for the benefit of the firefighting community. Whether working or retired, members of our community can now access Hearing Star’s services. This includes partners, parents and children, as well as brothers and sisters.” HearingStar’s audiology and ENT services are exclusive to members and the company donates a contribution from every order to its partner organisations, a scheme that has raised over £50,000 for

BTCC bonus for car wash winners The National Car Wash League 2015/16 kicked off in September with events held across the UK as fire stations competed to raise the most cash by washing as many dirty cars as possible. The National Car Wash League allows stations and fire and rescue services to go head to head twice a year – in September and March – in competition for an engraved shield, £100 worth of chocolate and a day out at the British Touring Car Championship 2016, courtesy of our event sponsor Autoglym.

Festive fortune

Hearing Star’s partners to date.

Spirit of Fire Winners Announced Preceded by a reception with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark MP, at No.10 Downing Street, the glitzy evening also reflected on the Charity’s foundation during the Blitz, with the stage built to resemble an Underground station in war-time London.

Supporter of The Year: Martin Lown Fire Service of The Year: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Corporate Supporter: AutoGlym Lifetime Achievement: Anthony ‘Tony’ Dale Beneficiary of Courage: Peter Lau Youth of Courage: Joe Bowers Adult Hero: Gareth Salmon Firefighter of The Year: Joe Thornton and Richard Jordan

Hosted by BBC Newsreader Nicholas Owen and attended by a number of celebrities as well as VIP guests from across the fire community, awards and winners included:

The Charity offers its congratulations and thanks to all winners, nominees, attendees and staff who helped to put on the successful event..

Team of the Year: StrongArm Challenge Best Newcomer: Sarah Lewis

For further details and photographs from The Spirit of Fire Awards 2015 see pages 24-28.

The Charity’s 10th Spirit of Fire Awards took place at the Park Plaza Westminster in London on October 2, honouring 10 worthy winners and a wealth of inspirational nominees.


If you’re interested in learning more, you can contact Hearing Star for advice about hearing problems or for a brochure detailing their services. Call 0800 0323771 or visit for further information.

The Flame joins Hazel’s mountain climb Anonymous fundraising firefighter, The Flame, joined committed supporter Hazel Waddington in September as she climbed Snowdon to raise funds for the Charity. Hazel has been battling cancer for a year and raising money for the Charity throughout with the help and support of family, friends and firefighters Jim Lister and Martin Lown. Hazel and her team, together with The Flame, successfully conquered the highest peak in Wales. You can donate by text to support Hazel by texting RESC99 followed by the amount eg £1 to 70070.

Autoglym, who provide car shampoo for all participating stations, have secured this fantastic prize package for the National Car Wash League winners. The VIP day out for 10 people at a BTCC round includes pit lane and behind the scenes access, as well as refreshments and entertainment. From dirty cars to Touring Cars, the race is on to crown the 2015/16 National Car Wash League Champions. Find out who crossed the line first in the next issue of Shout!.

up for grabs A vital source of fundraising income, the Super Draw operates in the same way as any other raffle. Tickets can be purchased by players for £1, entering them into a draw on 30 November 2015 that could see them walk away with the

Running Places Up For Grabs The Charity has some exciting opportunities available for runners in 2016 with places available at March’s Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon and the Bupa London 10,000 in May. There are also a handful of places still available for the London Marathon for those unlucky in the public ballot. Entry for both the Silverstone and Bupa 10,000 races, as a member of The Fire Fighters Charity team, is just £10 and there is no minimum

jackpot, a minimum second prize of £1,000 or 30 runners-up prizes of £50.

Christmas could come early for someone this year with the launch of the Charity’s annual Christmas Lottery Super Draw, this year offering a guaranteed jackpot of £25,000.

fundraising requirement. All the Charity is asking is that runners raise as much money as they can for their efforts. Every penny received from sponsorship will go directly to support the work of the Charity and, we hope, spur runners on to cross the finishing line in a personal best time. For more information on both events turn to page six.

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Whether lucky or not, players can also rest assured that by taking part they are donating toward the work of the Charity and directly helping to support injured firefighters, their families and dependants across the UK. To buy your tickets, simply call 0845 601 6936 or visit

Worth a read… eBook: A Short Journey Into Trauma Author: Frank Parkinson Price: £3.67 via Synopsis: A CofE Clergyman and trained counsellor who has worked with individuals and families in the wake of traumatic events – including industrial accidents, armed robberies, hostage situations, fatal traffic accidents, fatal shootings, muggings and bomb disposal work – Frank’s insightful and personal story details the often life-long effects of trauma on families and children. Frank also offers his personal advice on coping with trauma and hopes to show, through the book, that reactions to traumatic experiences are not signs of weakness or inadequacy and that understanding, help and treatment are available.




Dates with destiny

Spring 2016 sees two significant events for the Charity as we have places up for grabs at the Silverstone Half Marathon and the Bupa London 10,000. Here’s how you can get involved.

13 March, 2016: Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon


Whether tweeting, posting, liking or sharing, you’ve been as busy as ever on our various social media channels. Here’s just a brief snapshot of recent online goings-on, but you can join the conversation for yourself on Twitter (@firefighters999) or on Facebook (/thefirefighterscharity).

Tweet spot Revolution Physio @recoverthemiles

We did a daily walk at The Fire Fighters Charity as part of rehab – very effective → Designed2Move @designed2moveuk: @recoverthemiles I love what they do! Great work! Visited Jubilee House a couple of years ago

Event: Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon 2016 Date: 13 March, 2016

Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Johnny Herbert and Lewis Hamilton, the home of motor racing, Silverstone, is the perfect place to do it. For Formula

at significantly slower speeds. For everyone else, meanwhile, this predominantly flat 3.66 mile circuit provides the perfect

The Fire Fighters Charity team by registering online at www. Entry cost: Just £10

Sam Halliday @sahallid

Amazing afternoon at Jubilee House on Wed, what a fantastic place and great people @ firefighters999 @Knell_FFC

Fire Service College @FSCMoreton We are proud to support @firefighters999 with our new clothes recycling bank

Paul Simms

Simon Cook

Friends till the end @friendsbiketour Nearly £15k raised - can’t believe the generosity & kindness of you all #lostforwords #friendstilltheend

Details: If you fancy following in the footsteps, or tyre tracks, of F1 legends and British Grand Prix winners Nigel Mansell,

setting for those attempting their first half marathon or preparing for the London Marathon.

One fans, this half marathon offers the perfect opportunity to tackle every corner of the Nottinghamshire circuit, albeit

How to enter: You can run for

Minimum fundraise: None. All we ask is that you raise as much as you can.

30 May, 2016: Bupa London 10,000



Two years ago today I smashed my ankle. Four trips to Jubilee House with fab care and I’m able to run, hike, walk and work. Thanks

Defero Comms @deferouk

A Massive thankyou to all the @firefighters999 staff at #HarcombeHouse for making our week on the Family Programme so fantastic

Well done to our Matt & @LSWaste kayaking 18 miles around Hayling Island raising £5,000 for @RNLI and @firefighters999

Event: Bupa London 10,000 (10K)

Face to Face reviews

Date: 30 May, 2016 Details: If 10KM is your race length of choice, the Bupa London 10,000 is ideal. Or, if you missed out on the London Marathon, try this! Essentially a micro-London Marathon sightseeing tour, the race takes in Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch, Nelson’s Column, St Paul’s Cathedral, Mansion House, the Bank of England, the Old Bailey, Somerset House, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. Mind you, if you’re feeling particularly competitive, you can forget the sights and attempt to beat Mo Farrah’s 10KM record, set at this event in

Ian Green I am a firefighter in West

Yorkshire and I was at Jubilee House in February for two weeks. The dedication and expertise of all the staff is second to none. This has enabled me to return to full operational duties and continue my career. Please support The Fire Fighters Charity, a very worthy cause.

2010 and standing at 27 minutes 44 seconds (that’s an average of 4 minutes 28 seconds a mile!).

How to enter: You can run for The Fire Fighters Charity team by registering online at www.


Entry cost: Just £10 Minimum fundraise: None. All we ask is that you raise as much as you can.

Tanya Gibbins I loved the fact that the Charity helped get my Dad back on his feet after PTSD. This horrible condition nearly broke our family but with the support of the Service and the Charity, he has recovered. PTSD changed him and it could have been a very different story. We as a family will always be forever grateful for this service.

Colleen Varnam Flint Jubilee House is a fantastic place; all the staff are brilliant, I cannot praise them enough for what they did for me. I have been there three times Denise Bray I have been to Harcombe House in Exeter five times and I can’t thank the team enough for my 100% recovery. They are never far from my thoughts. Cliff Rust Jubilee House do an absolute fantastic job, as l am sure the other two centres do. Dawn Forrest Jubilee House can’t be praised

enough. I went down on crutches after breaking my leg and both ankles. Day after I finished at Jubilee I was back at work. Brill job they do.

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Piotr Gudan Thank you. Great service provided by the Charity, all is going in the good way for me but full recovery might be a very long time away... Still, will be able to support the Charity for as long as I can. Patricia Hall – 4* review I have had three trips to Penrith and found it to be the most beneficial therapy available. I would recommend it to everyone, the shy, the disabled, the aged, anyone in need of a boost, physically and mentally. The pools are marvellous and the gym has loads of equipment, as does the fitness room. The food in the restaurant is tasty and varied (and caters for vegetarians and special dietary requirements).

Health and wellbeing Helping you recover from illness or injury and supporting you in times of need Rehabilitation

Community support services

A residential programme of tailored exercise therapy, physiotherapy, psychological services and health education to help you recover from injury or illness.

Support and advice to ensure you have the tools you need to deal with the challenges you face, from health and wellbeing, to housing needs, adaptations for daily living and more. Where we can’t help directly we also work with third parties to ensure we find the right solution for you.

Dedicated helpline Offering advice and guidance to find the right solution for you, navigating you through our in-house services or by signposting you to others: 0800 389 8820

Whole person approach The Charity takes a ‘whole person’ approach to supporting its beneficiaries, ensuring that we look after you both physically and emotionally, equipping you to enhance, maintain and improve your quality of life.


Life Supporters Meet Beneficiary Support Coordinators Irene Ramsden and Sharon Little


hat’s your background and how did you come to work for the Charity? Irene: I was born and brought up in Fife, trained as a Registered Nurse in Edinburgh and worked for many years in spinal injury units and nurse education. I moved to Cumbria in 2007 and started working for the Charity in 2010, initially as a Bank Nurse but also as Interim Nursing Team Leader. I then moved to work in the Beneficiary Support Services (BSS) department, initially covering the North West and then covering Scotland

ACCESS OUR SERVICEs Telephone: 0800 389 8820

Registered office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG Charity registered in England and Wales (1093387) and Scotland (SC040096)

Royal Patron

Sharon: I worked for Social Services after leaving school. I was a service manager working with adults with severe learning disabilities in residential and day care services. I also managed residential care for severely physically disabled young adults, and was a service manager for adults with extremely challenging behaviour. Although I enjoyed

a difference and improve someone’s quality of life.

my job, after 24 years it was time for a change. By chance I saw the advert for the Charity and applied – I’ve been here a year now and am really pleased I made the change. What does your role involve? Irene and Sharon: As beneficiary support coordinators, we complement the Charity’s rehabilitation and recuperation services by offering advice, information and support to beneficiaries during times of need. This may include advice on welfare benefits, referral for debt management support or, in some cases, financial assistance with adaptations and equipment. If we don’t have the answers, we can signpost beneficiaries to organisations that can assist them. What’s the best thing about your job? Irene: Not knowing what’s going to be referred to you next! Also, being able to make

Sharon: Every day is different. Beneficiaries come with various problems and issues and it’s always a challenge to try and assist them and find a suitable solution. It’s very rewarding. What is the most challenging aspect? Sharon: You never know what you are going to get. People find themselves in very difficult situations, dealing with severe illness, loss and bereavement, which can be emotionally draining to help with. How has your role changed since you started here? Irene: Before I started, there was no Beneficiary Support Coordinator based at Jubilee House and all the referrals came directly from the Helpline. Now, as well as taking helpline referrals we also take referrals from beneficiaries attending our centres. We

Her Majesty The Queen

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try to get support in place for them before they go home, if necessary. Also, before Sharon started in 2014, it was just me here! Now, we have our own caseloads and can help each other out, which is absolutely brilliant because no one is ever left in limbo waiting for one of us.

“Every day is different. Beneficiaries come with various problems and its always a challenge to find a suitable solution for them.”


Helping Hand By Suzy Drewett, Beneficiary Support Assistant, Helpline


became a Beneficiary Support Assistant at the Charity in November 2013. I work within the Helpline team, answering calls on a whole range of areas including accessing our centre-based services, support within the community, signposting, advice and information. I speak with a wide range of people; various members of the fire service community; their families, friends and third parties. Depending on need, support may be given directly through listening, advice or signposting. If further assistance is required then a case can be opened for referral to one of our Beneficiary Support Coordinators who can work with them and look at possible solutions.

There are also email and online enquiries to respond to. For our centre-based recuperation and rehabilitation, our database needs to be updated and an application form sent out. I assist in sending out roughly 10-40 application packs per day to those needing to access our services. When completed rehabilitation applications are returned I help assess and process them, based on clinician protocols, filtering them to each of the Charity’s centres, so that rehabilitation can be arranged if required. There are many background tasks and projects that we work on to ensure that the information and signposting we provide is as up to date as it can be.

The thing I most enjoy is knowing that I am helping beneficiaries in their time of need. Whether it’s just having someone to listen to them, or reassuring them that there is support available, their gratitude is really heart-warming. It’s always rewarding when you’ve been someone’s first point of contact at the Charity and then, later, you see that they attended a centre. It’s nice to hear or read good things from the beneficiaries after they have received support from us and you get a real sense of how the Charity has benefited them. The most challenging aspect of my role is the emotional impact some of the enquiries can have. When you pick up the phone you have no way of knowing


what that call is going to be about. The role is continually changing and adapting to the needs of the beneficiaries and the Charity. Going forward, I’m keen to play my part in continually improving the services that we offer to beneficiaries, ensuring that they are accessing the right support when they need it.

“The thing I most enjoy is knowing that I am helping people in their time of need.”

THE FIRE FIGHTERS CHARITY HAS DRIVEN A GREAT DEAL. SO YO U C A N D R I V E A G R E AT VO LVO V4 0 R- D E S I G N . In the Euro NCAP collision test, the Volvo V40 scored the best result ever recorded. As well as featuring a range of classleading safety systems, this elegant 5-door hatchback is an absolute pleasure to drive. Today, a partnership between The Fire Fighters Charity and Volvo means you can benefit from a hugely valuable offer – as well as servicing, finance and accessory deals – at your local Volvo dealership. Get the inside story on offers across the full Volvo Range now. FIND OUT HOW MUCH YOU COULD SAVE BY CALLING THE VOLVO CAR BUSINESS CENTRE ON 03333 204 147

Fuel consumption and CO2 figures for the Volvo Range in MPG (I/100 km): Urban 19.1 (14.8) – 68.9 (4.1), Extra Urban 37.7 (7.5) – 85.6 (3.3), Combined 27.7 (10.2) – 155.2 (1.8), CO2 emissions 237 – 48g/km. MPG figures are obtained from laboratory testing intended for comparisons between vehicles and may not reflect real driving results.

Fundraising for the Charity brings in additional funds to help us support many more people in need.

Call 01256 366581

or email:

See how your support really helps at Registered office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG Charity registered in England and Wales (1093387) and Scotland (SC040096)


Royal Patron

A 12 and a half metre fall following a training accident left Jamie Thompson with life-threatening injuries. However, 10 months later – and with the support of The Fire Fighters Charity – the Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service firefighter is literally back on his feet.

Her Majesty The Queen

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porting a broad grin, joking with his Exercise Therapist and strapping himself into the anti-gravity treadmill with the air of someone who has done this many times before, it’s hard to imagine that 10 months earlier Jamie Thompson lay in a crumpled heap at the bottom of a training tower with severe spinal injuries and in fear for his life. The 38-year-old Crew Manager from Northampton is midway through his second stay at The Fire Fighters Charity’s Marine Court rehabilitation centre in Littlehampton, West Sussex. We meet him as he prepares to run on the Centre’s new, state-of-the-art Alter-G treadmill, a prospect that he would have thought impossible in the

“It was about mid-morning, just before lunchtime,” he recalls. “We were doing an exercise for an open day that was happening the following weekend. Myself and a colleague were going to do the first rescue as part of a demonstration. It was going to be a very basic pick off rescue. I would come out of the fourth floor of the tower, come down to the third, pick my colleague up and put him into my safety system. Then we’d just travel down the front of the fire tower, nice and gently and slowly. “The first part – coming out of the fourth floor and making my way down to the third to pick him up – went well. However, as soon as I picked him up and we both came out of the window of the third floor, the system failed and we ended up falling 12 and a half metres to a concrete floor.”


used to dealing with traumatic situations and those who find themselves in the middle of them, Jamie can recount his own trauma with incredible clarity. “Quite a few things went through my mind at that time,” he says, describing the three second fall. “I knew the impact was going to be hard, we just had a concrete floor below us, so I just braced for that moment. I managed to put my arms underneath my colleague and pull him into me and then it was just a case of closing my eyes and waiting to hit the floor. “I was conscious throughout the whole incident so I can remember smells, sounds, everything. I can remember conversations, people in the background dealing with different things. I can remember my colleague in front of me.

“For seven and a half months I had been struggling to walk and was told I was not allowed to run because of the impact on my spine. So to come here and use the anti-gravity treadmill to run for the first time, I could

immediate aftermath of events that occurred during a routine training exercise in July 2014.

Speaking with the calmness you’d expect from someone

There’s quite a lot that goes through your mind. I certainly was borderline close at that

have cried, it was absolutely amazing.” point, I didn’t know what had happened to me, but I knew it was bad.” Jamie’s self-diagnosis was accurate, he had suffered an unstable fracture to his spinal cord and fractures to his feet and ankles. He was lucky to be alive, and he knew it. “The pain was quite excruciating, especially through the back. The feet I wasn’t too concerned with,” he says, almost brushing off the fact that he had split his heel bone, one of the strongest bones in the body. “I did feel like I had put both my feet through my boots and into the concrete floor. The impact was quite horrendous.” Following the accident, Jamie’s colleague was taken to hospital by air ambulance, while Jamie was given a police escort to Coventry University Hospital, where he remained for 12 days,


undergoing a complicated and lengthy operation to construct a complex titanium framework around his spine and severely damaged thoracic vertebra. Once out of hospital he was then confined to a hospital bed in his dining room at home for a further four and a half months, an ordeal that was as much psychological as it was physical for this selfconfessed positive thinker. “Mentally it has been horrific,” says Jamie. “I’m quite a positive person and I like to think that I can overcome anything, but this has been very testing. Silly little things on a day to day basis… you can’t pick a piece of paper up off the floor, you can’t put your socks on, your wife is having to bed bath you every day and your children, being quite young, don’t fully understand, they think you’re going to get better really quickly, so four and a half months in a hospital bed is quite testing.”

Father to 11-year old Eleanor and nine-year-old Sophie, the physical restrictions placed upon Jamie following his accident have, he admits, had far-reaching emotional repercussions on his family life. “As far as picking my children up, it’s quite horrific. I still haven’t picked my [youngest] daughter up and she’s nine, she’s quite a small nine, but I still haven’t picked her up and we’re 10 months and two weeks down the line��� that hurts.” As soon as it was safe for him to do so, Jamie embarked on a road to recovery that has since seen him working with physios through the fire service, as well as a number of back, knee, ankle and feet specialists, progressing from a wheelchair to crutches and eventually – through sheer hard work and determination – to unaided walking. However, Jamie

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attributes much of his incredible progress to two intensive rehabilitation programmes he has attended at Marine Court. A long term donor, Jamie had been giving to the Charity through his payroll and by playing the Fire Fighters Lottery for years before his accident. He was also aware of what services he was eligible for, having been visited at his station by a Charity Fundraiser who had spoken to his whole watch and explained the work of the Charity. Keen to make progress in his rehabilitation, Jamie called the Charity to find out whether he could attend one of the centres and, a few weeks later, found himself settling in to the Littlehampton base, about to start his first week’s rehabilitation. However, it wasn’t just the prospect of making progress with his physical rehabilitation that appealed to Jamie.



every month, I think it is very important that we do so. There are many charities, but for me this is close to my heart. I never thought I would be a beneficiary of The Fire Fighters Charity, I never thought it would be for me. I’m quite happy to donate to help other people because that’s what I do as a job, I help other people, that’s what we do as a team, what we’re in the fire service for. We help people in emergencies and in rescue situations and if I can help my colleagues by donating £1, £2, £10…the value is irrelevant, as long as we all do our bit and donate.”

“I was looking forward to

“The experience here is

back pain through to walking

With that, we end our interview and Jamie strides purposefully to the canteen for a hard-


£1 per ticket

coming because I needed a break,” he says. “I needed a break from being at home in my own house for 5-6 months, some of the time by myself. You do get cabin fever, so for me this opportunity was a release. To get here was amazing and it was a big relief for me to get that phone call to say that they’d love me to come down to Marine Court as a beneficiary.”

“For seven and a half months I had been struggling to walk and was told I was not allowed to run because of the impact on my spine. So to come here and use the anti-gravity treadmill to run for the first time, I could have cried. It was absolutely amazing.

a little bit further with relatively low pain. In so far as strength training, I have pushed myself on to the extent that I feel like I am nearly getting on track to where I was pre-accident. “I think they need to come down and I am quite happy to talk to those sceptics and say: ‘I broke my back…look where I am now!’”

But what difference could two weeks at one of The Fire Fighters Charity’s rehabilitation centres really make to someone who has suffered such severe injuries? Sceptics may be forgiven for thinking that the length of time spent at Marine Court is insufficient to make any real progress, but Jamie has a clear message for them:

To his colleagues across the UK’s fire and rescue services, Jamie has another clear message: “I think it is really important for firefighters, friends and families of firefighters to donate to The Fire Fighters Charity. I donate

“To the sceptics, I would say you need to come down here and see the facilities and see what people like myself as a beneficiary have gone through. From horrific injuries where I didn’t think I would survive, I have gone from walking a little bit hunched with quite serious


earned and overdue lunch, leaving the Shout! team in almost speechless admiration. Determined, dedicated and driven by an inner strength that will evidently see him achieve anything he sets his mind to, Jamie is a credit to his chosen career. As for his next literal step, Jamie is in no doubt as to where it will take him: “I want to get to where I was on that Saturday morning before the accident,” he says. “I want to be back serving with the fire service, back on my watch and helping the general public, which is where I think I should be.” Amen to that.

£25,000 2nd prize £1,000*

Photo credit: Chris Phillips

Once at the centre, Jamie wasted no time in making the most of the opportunity and one piece of equipment in particular made an almost out of this world difference to him; “I knew there would be physiotherapists here, I knew there was a swimming pool, but as far as the hydro pool and the AlterG anti-gravity treadmill were concerned, they were just an incredible bonus, especially for me and my injuries.

amazing. The physiotherapy is second to none and the professionalism of the physios and the staff is amazing, from the chef who calculates all your calories, your protein and your carbohydrates to the physio staff who make you an individual programme – that can be changed daily or hourly – I have had true one to one physiotherapy. It has been absolutely amazing.”

30 x £50 prizes Closing date for ticket returns:

23 November 2015

HELP US TO HELP THEM To find out how you can help firefighters like Jamie to get back on their feet visit www.firefighterscharity. or join The Fire Fighters Lottery at

Draw date:

Enter online:

30 November 2015 *The second prize is a rollover prize so could be higher than £1,000 by November, if no matching number is drawn it will roll over to the next month’s Lottery. All other prizes are guaranteed. Please gamble responsibly:


Promoter: K H Griffiths, The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG. Licensed by the Gambling Commission, under the Gambling Act 2005 ( Tickets must not be sold by or to any persons under 16 years of age. Registered Office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG. Charity registered in England & Wales (1093387) and Scotland (SC040096)

Royal Patron Her Majesty The Queen



Good luck... Fundraising focus All around the country, our fantastic supporters are always busy swimming, cycling, running, walking and washing cars (amongst other things) to help raise money for the Charity. Here, we say thank you to those who’ve already completed their challenges, and wish the best of luck to those about to! If you’d like to feature on these pages, just email

Robert Chappell

If you’d like to support him on his year of fundraising, go to or text DFRS70 £2 to 70070.

The Flame We’d like to wish a continued good luck to The Flame, who is currently taking on 12 months of challenges all over the UK to raise money for us.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service Watch Manager Robert is busy raising money for the Charity, after accessing its services when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Robert, who started his fundraising with a half marathon on the cross-trainer during Swadlincote Fire Station’s open day this August, is taking part in a number of events to support the Charity. He’s taking part in the Great South Run in Portsmouth, the Coventry Half Marathon and, in 2016, the Virgin London Marathon. Robert says: “The Charity offered and provided my family with some very

The Flame, an anonymous individual, completes all of the challenges in full fire kit, helmet with mirrored visor and breathing apparatus. Challenges to date have included climbing Ben Nevis, The Morrisons Great Newham London 10k run, and climbing Snowdon with fellow supporter Hazel Waddingham. We look forward to seeing what comes next. You can sponsor The Flame at

Robert Gall, Tom McCracken, Steve Clarke and Graham Fletcher

Manchester are taking part in the very tough Hell Runner North event at the end of October in aid of the Charity. Styled as the ‘UK’s toughest half marathon,’ the foursome will be completing the run in full fire kit and breathing apparatus. The team was inspired to take part by the Charity’s regional fundraiser Alan Knell, no stranger to extreme fundraising ideas himself. Marple Fire Station has held the Marple Fire Fighters 10k for the past eight years, with their most recent event this September. If you’d like to support this amazing team, take a look at their JustGiving on www.justgiving. com/marplefirefightersdohellrunner.

Tim Elliott Watch Manager Tim from Westleigh Fire Station in Wiltshire is taking part in the New York Marathon in aid of the Charity on November 1. Tim, who is the Charity’s Fundraising Coordinator for Wiltshire, wanted to take on a significant fundraising event before Wiltshire merges with Dorset Fire and Rescue. He is hoping to raise £2015 – this is his first ever marathon! Best of

Thank you... Oliver Nicholson and Beth McGinty

so he wanted to say thank you to the Charity for helping his dad.” If you’d like to sponsor the two friends, visit oliverandbeth

Cameron Thomson

appreciated and needed support in coming to terms with a life-changing illness.”

that I wanted to do something to help. My Grandad Bill is a retired firefighter and we all know how lucky they are to have the support of the Charity.”

for organising and completing the Great Lancashire Walk earlier this year. Phil, Station Manager at Ribble Valley, walked for 175 miles between all 39 fire stations in Lancashire with Hyndburn Station Manager Neil and Community Fire Safety Manager Wes. They were joined by an ever-changing team of companions, including Lancashire’s Chief Fire Officer on the first day, and the Charity’s Regional Fundraiser, Alan Knell.

If you would like to support Cameron, you still can – just visit Cameron-David-Thomson3

London Fire Brigade

Earlier this year, eight members of the London Fire Brigade Swim Team completed 160 lengths in just 55 minutes in the annual Purley swimathon, raising £160. Money raised is distributed between local charities and each team’s nominated charity – in this case, The Fire Fighters Charity! Well done to all for this fantastic achievement!

Toddlers Oliver and Beth recently completed the South Tyneside Triathlon course, raising £1,000 to be split between the Charity and Breast Cancer Care. The dynamic duo, both three, completed a 25-metre swim, a 450-metre bike ride and a 200-metre run.

Young supporter Cameron, 12, raised almost £3,000 by taking part in the Great North Swim

Oliver’s proud mum Sam said of the achievement: “They both loved every minute of it. They did the whole race with beaming smiles on their faces – the swim might only have been 25 metres, but for three-year-olds who can’t really swim, that’s quite far!

Cameron decided to enter the half-mile swim to say thank you for the help the Charity has provided to his grandmother Linda, who suffers from congenital brain condition Chiari Malformation and has joined us for rehabilitation on several occasions.

“Oliver’s dad visited Jubilee House for two weeks at the end of last year for rehabilitation,

Cameron says: “I visited my Grandma at Jubilee House. It was such a special place


James Dore, Charlotte Hunt and Stephen Simpson James, Charlotte and Stephen recently completed a tandem skydive in aid of the Charity in memory of firefighter Stephen Hunt. Stephen sadly lost his life fighting a fire at Paul’s Hair World in Manchester in July 2013.

Firefighters Robert, Tom, Steve and Graham from Marple Fire Station in Greater

James said of Stephen: “Steve was an amazing person, he loved to help others and he loved his job. He was a hero to the end.” Stephen’s daughter Charlotte added: “It was brilliant – I’d do it again! I was so pleased with the amount we raised too.”

This epic effort raised a fantastic £7,000. You can still donate at Phil’s JustGiving on

Newark Fire Station and Balderton Sainsbury’s

So far the trio has raised more than £2,000, with more still to come in. If you’d like to sponsor them, take a look at James’ JustGiving page: James-Dore87/

luck, Tim!

Nottinghamshire firefighters and Sainsbury’s staff recently raised £500 for the Charity on Sainsbury’s Big Ride 3, which raises money for each store’s chosen Charity of the Year. The team, made up of firefighters from Newark Fire Station and Balderton store colleagues, cycled to every Sainsbury’s across the north of England and all of Scotland.

Mark Baxter, Mick Green, Jon Henderson and Dan Moss

Firefighters Mark, Mick, Jon and Dan decided to take a longer route to The Spirit of Fire Awards this year, cycling 100 miles via Cambridge the day before and then another 60 miles on the day. The team have raised over £650 to date for the Charity – you can sponsor them here: mark-baxter9.

Car wash kings and queens A huge thank you to every fire station that took part in the first event of this year’s National Car Wash League, and to sponsors Autoglym for supporting this mammoth national fundraising event.

Phil Whittaker, Neil Mark and Wes Truran A big thank you to this tremendous trio from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service

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The Fire fighters charity has driven a great deal. Thanks to Volvo’s Affinity Programme, beneficiaries of The Fire Fighters

interest payments to a minimum. Our finance deals change over time, but

Charity have access to a variety of discounts and offers. That means you

we offer Affinity partners incentives such as preferential interest rates –

can get your hands on a brand new Volvo at a very tempting price. Volvo’s dealership network keeps a record of Affinity partners, making

including occasional 0% deals – that aren’t available to customers outside the programme.

it easy to take advantage of the programme. If you’re eligible (visit www.

Finally, for those who like to personalise their car, we offer a selection of to find out), simply visit your local showroom to view

accessories at discounted prices. This includes some packages that have

our range. Then, once you’ve selected the model of your choice, a member of the sales team will talk you through the options. First up is a partner discount, awarded as a percentage of the vehicle’s net cost. This maximises the value of the discount, by keeping the pre-VAT price of the car as low as possible. In consequence, you get more for your money, putting Volvo ownership well within reach. That’s further aided by the second element: a Volvo discount.

Commercial Update

Take a break…with us! Fantastic holidays at bargain prices Whether you fancy relaxing in the lush surrounds of the Devon countryside, exploring the Lake District’s spectacular mountains or re-energising with a stroll along the brisk West Sussex coast, The Fire Fighters Charity has all you need for your next holiday. Accommodation is available to rent at all of our centres, providing our guests with quality, affordable holidays in some of the UK’s most sought after locations. Furthermore, all income received from our holiday rentals is ploughed straight back into the work of the Charity. So, in other words, you’ll be having a good break while also contributing to a good cause.

the perfect backdrop to your next weekend away, mid-week break or week-long holiday. To find out more and discuss availability call: Harcombe House, Devon: 01626 853639 Jubilee House, Cumbria: 01768 890009

Available all year round and flexible in terms of duration, Jubilee House, Marine Court or Harcombe House could provide

We offer lump-sum reductions on the net value of our cars. These vary by model and ensure you’ll often secure a new

Marine Court, West Sussex: 01903 735931

vehicle for what feels like the cost of a second-hand car. The third element of our Affinity offer is the option of metallic paint,

been designed specifically for Affinity customers, giving you a car that

completely free of charge. This is usually sold at up to £700, and gives you

stands out from the crowd and is perfectly suited to your lifestyle.

a wider selection of finishes to choose from when it comes to specifying the car of your dreams.

Accessories available include Polestar Performance Optimisation, roof bars, cycling racks, interior mats and dog guards. By clustering these

Meanwhile, the possibility of purchasing an up-front servicing deal means

items together in packages, we’re able to offer significant discounts for the

you can plan your running costs for the first years of ownership. We offer

equipment that our Affinity customers tell us they most frequently need.

three years of servicing at a Volvo main dealer for £300, and five years for £500. What’s more, packages like these are sometimes available at no cost to customers taking up a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) offer.

This is all part of Volvo’s commitment to serving its partners as effectively as possible. We design our Affinity packages to have the maximum appeal to customers who belong to a variety of organisations. Moreover, we strive to

If that takes care of the fourth aspect of our Affinity package, the fifth

deliver the highest levels of service throughout your buying and ownership

component gives you the chance to spread your purchasing costs and keep

experience. Thanks to the Affinity Programme, you can own a Volvo that is equipped with your favoured specification for a surprisingly modest outlay. As a result, even more people can enjoy the safety, elegance, economy and poise that characterises our industry leading range of premium cars. Even better, you can make a sound investment that repays you time and time again.


Target £2,000,000 Could you help us smash the £2m mark? The Charity is heading towards a major milestone in the not too distant future as our total for textile recycling creeps towards the £2million mark. The staggering figure, accrued since 2009, has come from the clothes donated by members of the public, deposited in our recycling banks on fire stations across the UK, or through our door-to-door recycling collections. It’s simple, it’s effective and it’s a great way to generate income for the Charity. However, we want more. In fact, we want every fire station to consider a recycling bank. Have you got space? Would people in your local area welcome it? Over 600 fire stations across the UK currently have a textile bank, could yours be next, or would a place in your local community be suitable? To find out more contact our Recycling Manager Kevin Biles on 01256 366573.

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January Recycling Competition This coming January fire stations across the UK will battle it out to collect the most clothes during the month in order to be crowned UK Recycling Champions 2016. Put this date in your diary and help your local station top our UK league.



Christmas Gifts

Holding an event at your station? Why not arrange for a Charity ‘Shop-in-a-Box’ and sell our Charity merchandise at your event? Simple to set up and priced to sell, it couldn’t be easier. In fact...

Explore our webshop to see our full range of Christmas Cards, Toys, Gifts and much much more.

£14.95 £10.95


Retired Firefighter Polo Shirt ‘Retired’ Firefighter T Shirt


it’s simple, it’s free, it’s as easy as 1-2-3!



Fleece Jackets

Running Vest


£9.50 £5

Place an order for a ‘Shop-in-aBox’ with us and it will be delivered 3-4 days before your event.

Just a few of the items you can expect in your box:

NeeNaw Child T-Shirt

Draw String Bag

Fleece Hat – Adult

Wee Dram Crystal Set

Children’s NEENAW T-Shirt available in Red, Blue & Pink



FIREMAN SAM PUZZLES (various images available)

Display and sell the stock at your event.




Reflective Armband

Pack any unsold stock back into the box and return it to us, and pay the money raised into the bank.


Fireman Sam Playset with Figure – Mountain Lodge

Fireman Sam Playset with Figure – Fire Station


Fireman Sam Playset with Figure – Boathouse

The Fire Fighters Charity Adult T Shirt

Fireman Sam Playset with Figure – Supermarket


Fire Engine (Try Me) - With Ladder 35 Piece Fireman Sam Puzzle PVC Fire Engine Torch Keyring

£5 Plus many more items!

Fireman Sam Push Along Vehicle – Jupiter Fire Engine

Blaze Bear

Teamsterz City Toy Fire Engine

Acrylic NeeNaw Mug

Selection of Christmas Cards (packs of 10)

11” Blaze Bear Cuddly Toy

ORDER TODAY! Contact Customer Services Online: By phone: 01256 366566 All prices exclude postage and packaging


ORDER YOURS TODAY Call Customer Services on 01256 366566 or email For more information visit and select ‘Shop-in-a-Box’

22 23



The StrongArm Challenge Team with TV presenter Diana Binks (4th from right)

Martin Lown (centre) with Emmerdale’s Bhasker Patel (right)

in the top five fire and rescue services in the UK in terms of income per head for two years running. Despite a reduction in workforce figures, it set an ambitious fundraising target of £70,000 which it went on to beat, raising around £75,000 in 2013/14 and again in 2014/15.

The Blitz Spirit A look back at The Spirit of Fire Awards 2015, an emotional and inspirational evening of celebration that took award winners, nominees and guests back to the Blitz.

Corporate Supporter of the Year: Autoglym Team of the Year: StrongArm Challenge

Supporter of the Year: Martin Lown

The StrongArm Challenge saw Durham and Darlington, and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue teams join forces to undertake a number of challenges. On consecutive days in 2014 they swam eight miles in Ullswater, completed a mountain triathlon, and took part in the Total Warrior 10-mile assault course carrying a paraplegic team member, before cycling 100 miles home. Fundraising in memory of firefighter Peter Metcalfe, who died at 35 after a brief battle with cancer, the team has raised £60,000 for the Charity and Make a Wish Foundation.

Martin is the Service Coordinator for Hereford and Worcester and regularly pushes his body to its physical limits to raise money for us! He climbed Kilimanjaro, Mount Everest Base Camp, and Mount Toubkal in North Africa in full fire kit, carrying a specially adapted breathing apparatus set to act as a rucksack. The three mountain ascents alone raised £12,000 and through actively promoting the Charity in all that he does and inspiring others, Martin helped Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue raise nearly £90,000 in 2014.

Autoglym has supported the Charity’s National Car Wash year after year by providing shampoo for all participating stations, together with some fantastic prizes. This support equates to £40,000 worth of shampoo each year. Indeed, thanks to Autoglym’s unstinting support we have been able to wash thousands of cars and raise hundreds of thousands of pounds. Autoglym’s Mark Docherty (second left) and Paul Caller (centre) with CEO Jill Tolfrey and Des Tidbury


eventy years ago the allies celebrated the end of World War II, a conflict that had seen German bombs devastate cities across the UK and cost over 1,000 brave firefighters their lives. It was from these dark beginnings that The Fire Fighters Charity, first called the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund, was first founded in support of firefighters’ widows and orphans.

Fire Service of the Year: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service Held at the Park Plaza hotel in Westminster, attendees at the prestigious event represented Fire and Rescue Services from all corners of the country and included beneficiaries, donors, supporters, volunteers, Trustees and celebrities, all present to find out who would be crowned winner in each of the evening’s 10 award categories.

On October 2, 2015 – 72 years after its inception following the devastation of the Blitz – the Charity welcomed firefighters, nominees and their guests back to central London for the Spirit of Fire Awards and to a scene that would have been familiar to Londoners in the 1940s.

The Awards themselves were preceded by a reception at No.10 Downing Street for the award nominees. Hosted by the Secretary of State for the Department of Communities and Local Government, Greg Clark MP, nominees were able to gain a rare glimpse inside the most famous black door in Britain before returning to the Park Plaza for the evening’s celebrations.

Themed around the London Blitz and featuring a stage designed to reflect the London Underground stations that sheltered thousands from the German bombardment, the 2015 Awards – hosted by BBC Newsreader, Nicholas Owen – once again celebrated the bravery, dedication and courage of the UK’s Fire and Rescue Community, as well as members of the general public.

The inspirational stories of bravery, courage and dedication from all of our nominees made the work of the judging panel incredibly hard, as has been the case throughout the event’s 10 year history. All worthy, all humbling and all astounding, the evening provided an opportunity to thank and celebrate them all. However, there could only be one winner in each category, so here’s who won what.


Despite being a relatively small service, Bedfordshire makes a big contribution to the work of The Fire Fighters Charity. It placed Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service with guest presenters Sarah Benioff and Tim Jackson

Sarah Lewis with Bake Off star Mat Riley

Best Newcomer: Sarah Lewis Sarah joined Royal Berkshire as Service Coordinator in November 2013, with the goal of making it the leading fundraising fire service in the country. Her impact was immediate. A single town centre collection made almost £10,000, helping funds rise by 670% in a year. Royal Berkshire also won an award for its National Car Wash fundraising, moving from a total of £282 in 2013/14 to £15,963 in 2014/15. Sarah also bravely took part in a Spinnaker Tower abseil in Portsmouth.

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Sign-up via our website at or call our lottery hotline on 0870 759 8868

Retired CFO Nigel Williams collects award on Tony Dale’s behalf

Joe Bowers (left) received his award from comedian Russell Howard

Gareth Salmon (centre) with TV presenter David Domoney (left) and Peter Holland CBE

Lifetime Achievement: Anthony Dale

Youth of Courage: Joe Bowers

Tony Dale, the winner of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award, is a retired firefighter who joined the Charity (then the Benevolent Fund) as a volunteer back in 1963, making his service with the Charity a fantastic 52 years. Tony, who retired from volunteering this year, started off as part of the East Anglia Group Council and has since been a Home Visitor, Company Member and Service Coordinator, as well as a fundraiser. Tony is described as unassuming, dedicated and benevolent by those who know him. Unfortunately Tony was unable to attend the Awards due to ill health,

Rescued from a house fire back in 2001, when he was just 18 months old, Joe suffered life-changing changing burns and spent months recovering in hospital. Overcoming everything from facial reconstruction to muscle transplants with admirable strength and incredible determination, Joe was adopted by Phil and Tracy Bowers. Phil is now a volunteer with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, helping prevent fires like the one which changed Joe’s life forever. A sweet and loving young man, Joe – now 16 years old – warms the

elderly resident. Finally gaining access after flames forced him to retreat, an explosion blew him out of the door. Not giving up, he re-entered the property and saved the occupant. As he left the premises there was a much larger explosion – fortunately, he came to no harm.

Firefighter of the Year: Joe Thornton and Richard Jordan In 2014, Immingham Fire Station’s Green Watch attended a scene where a man was threatening to set fire to himself in a shed.

so newly retired CFO Nigel Williams accepted the award on his behalf.

hearts of everyone he meets.

Adult Hero: Gareth Salmon When Gareth became aware of a fire near his residence, he entered the at, ignoring the danger to himself in order to save an

With a strong smell of petrol and smoke, Richard applied cooling techniques and Joe opened the door, only for the man to throw a can of petrol at them and slam the door shut. Without hesitation, Joe forced the door open whilst Richard extinguished and protected them from the threat of ignition to the petrol or themselves, successfully controlling the situation.

Peter Lau with guest presenters Niamh McGrady (second left) and Jodie McGrane

Beneficiary of Courage: Peter Lau

Registered Office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG.

Royal Patron Her Majesty The Queen

Promoter: Mrs K H Griffiths. The Fire Fighters Charity is licensed by the Gambling Commission ( No chances may be sold to a person under 16 years of age. Our social responsibility policy and full terms and conditions can be found on our website If you, or someone you know, needs information and/or help with problem gambling, please call Gamble Aware on 0808 802 0133 or visit

Station Manager Pete suffered a lifechanging spinal injury after a cycling accident, leaving him in a wheelchair. He spent months recovering in hospital and attended rehabilitation with the Charity. Pete is an inspiration, motivating other patients in their recovery despite several knockbacks of his own. Committed to making a difference, he tirelessly fundraises for the Charity. Joe Thornton (second right) and Richard Jordan (second left) with presenters David Jubb, from Battersea Arts Centre (right) and Russell Wood from Infographics

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A night of memories

you could make all the difference!

Become a regular donor and see what you can do. Did you know?

If every employee in each UK Fire and Rescue Service gave just £10 a month, we’d raise almost £7 million a year to fund life enhancing services that will be there when you, or your nearest and dearest, really need them. Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service Choir opened the show The choir in full swing

Pre-dinner drinks

Beneficiary of Courage Peter Lau and family

Enjoying the No.10 atmosphere Guests posed for photos outside No.10

A glimpse inside Downing Street

Greg Clark MP delivers his speech

Silent auction items DCLG’s Sarah Benioff with Nuneaton’s Claire and Rachel

Chairman Ken Seager mid-speech

All set at the Park Plaza

With thanks to everyone who nominated, attended, supported and helped to make Spirit of Fire 2015 such a success.

To join our Regular Giving scheme call us on 01256 366581 or download a form from our website

Registered Office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG. Charity registered in England & Wales (1093387) and Scotland (SC040096)


Royal Patron Her Majesty The Queen


Dependants’ Day After suffering a nasty fall, Annette Smith was able to turn to The Fire Fighters Charity for rehabilitation support, despite never having worked for the fire service. Here’s how…

nnette Smith


“There are no words to describe what I would like to say to the staff at Marine Court because they have been amazing in everything that they have done”


broke her left tibia and suffered nine fractures when she fell off a step ladder while at home. It was a painful and traumatic accident that had a huge impact on her life and left her with a long road to recovery.

Having nearly lost her leg and struggling to help herself regain her previous strength, Annette also admits that the accident had far reaching emotional consequences too: “The accident left me frustrated and tearful. I could not even make myself a cup of coffee, just everyday things we take for granted. My son had to take time off work to look after me.”

“I only went to get something that I couldn’t quite reach,” she explains, with a hint of embarrassment. “I was just four steps up when the ladder collapsed. I had to have plates down both sides of my leg which have been bolted to hold it together. I had complete bed rest for 12 weeks, only going to the bathroom and back on a Zimmer frame.”

It was because she was dependant for care on her son, John, a serving firefighter in Richmond, that Annette was eligible for support from The Fire Fighters Charity. “It was actually the fire service who suggested to my son, that I should apply for help,” she explains. “So he rang the Charity and from there it has been easy sailing. We were very surprised to find out that I was a beneficiary.

It was a frustrating time as Annette, 55, visited hospital on several occasions to attend physiotherapy but, once back home, wasn’t able to put what she had been told into practice. “The physiotherapist gave me some exercises,” she recalls, “but I didn’t do them as it hurt and I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.”

“I was worried before I attended [rehabilitation] at Marine Court, but I needn’t have been as


everyone was so friendly. I had a rehabilitation programme devised for me to help me straighten my leg, mainly in the hydro pool and on the antigravity treadmill. Now I can actually walk normally on the anti-gravity treadmill.”

the Charity, Annette and her son have been working together to ensure that a recycling bank is placed at his Richmond station, so that the local community can also support the Charity by donating their old clothes. But it doesn’t stop there.

Annette speaks fondly of her time at Marine Court as we talk to her following a gym session.

“John is going to speak to his Station Manager and he is trying to get a car wash organised now too, because they don’t currently do it there,” she enthuses, before keenly adding; “I am now going to pay a small donation every month. There are lots of things people can do to support the Charity and help even more people like me.”

“My experience has been excellent,” she says. “I would recommend it to anybody. I can’t believe what I have achieved in two weeks. The physiotherapists know exactly what you can do and there is no pressure at all. When I came in I was walking on crutches and now I am not! I even achieved my personal goal to walk up the stairs. “There are no words to describe what I would like to say to the staff at Marine Court because they have been amazing in everything that they have done. I don’t think there is a word to explain it and that’s the truth.” Keen to give something back to

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DONATE To donate, fundraise for and support dependant beneficiaries like Annette, visit

Fantastic Family Holidays Great getaways at our three centres


Meet our nursing team Kath Savage, Nursing Services Lead for The Fire Fighters Charity introduces her dedicated nursing team, based at our Jubilee House centre in Cumbria. Assistants. Our aim is to provide a safe, caring and therapeutic environment which maximises a client’s functional potential or stabilising quality of life, whilst respecting individuality, privacy, dignity and respect. So how does it work?

Whether you’re looking to climb the breathtaking mountains of the Lake District, ramble your way through spectacular Devon

What an exciting

Beneficiaries who are identified as having nursing or personal care needs are offered the opportunity to attend Jubilee

countryside or relax by the West Sussex seaside, your next family holiday could be closer than you think. Contact us on the details below to book your next family break today. Harcombe House (Devon) Telephone: 01626 853639 or email; Marine Court (West Sussex) Telephone: 01903 735931 or email; Jubilee House (Cumbria) Telephone: 01768 890009 or email;

A GREAT BREAK AND A GREAT CAUSE Book your next holiday today

* Based on 3 nights at Harcombe House December 2015

WINTER SPECIALS Short Breaks from £103* Week-long holidays from £154**

opportunity for me to tell you about my team and what we do. However, let me give you a bit of background information to begin with. Currently we have four beds registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – the regulatory body in England and Wales that monitors, inspects and regulates services. The CQC sets fundamental standards of quality and safety, ensuring registered care services meet national standards. They ask five key questions of all care services: Are they safe? Are they effective? Are they caring? Are they responsive to people’s needs? Are they well led? I’m pleased to say that our most recent inspection was fantastic, giving us a benchmark so that we can strive to attain the highest possible standards going forward. The report can be viewed at Here at Jubilee House I manage a dedicated team of health professionals; nine Qualified Nurses and four Clinical

House for rehabilitation, under the care of the nursing team. Depending on beneficiary need we offer a one or a two week stay. We provide a 24 hour, seven day a week service and the multi-skilled team is able to deal with many clinical needs. Beneficiaries’ needs can vary hugely, from individuals requiring temporary nursing – perhaps following a road traffic accident – to those with long term conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease, Multiple Sclerosis or those with spinal injuries. During their stay we care for all our beneficiaries’ needs, for example we assist with washing and dressing, feeding (including enteral feeding), wound care, catheter care, mobility problems and medication needs. We are very fortunate to have some state-of-the-art equipment to allow us to assist our clients, these include several hoists, electric tilting shower chairs and profiling beds, equipment we only have through the incredible generosity of our supporters. Nursing clients are assessed by our physiotherapist, who

compiles an individualised, person-centred programme to meet their needs, which is updated and modified throughout their stay as required. We can also refer clients to the Charity’s Beneficiary Support Services during their time with us if we feel that they will need support at home, or would benefit from a piece of equipment on discharge. It is important for me to mention that we also offer support to our beneficiaries’ carers. This is a vital part of our role, as looking after a loved one can be tough

** Based on 7 nights at Marine Court December 2015

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and also supporting those people can help make a difference. I feel very privileged to be in the position I am, working for a fantastic charity, to help support beneficiaries and their families through some of the most difficult times, to give back some quality of life and to make a difference. It is a truly humbling and rewarding experience for the whole team. If you feel that someone you know would benefit from the nursing provision we offer, call the Helpline on 0800 3898820.


Straight talking Marine Court Clinical Team Leader, Michelle Mason, on why we should be aware of our posture and how technology is turning us all into Neanderthals. ‘Chin up’, ‘stop slouching’ and ‘stand tall,’ phrases that undoubtedly conjure up

Evolution also has a lot to answer for in regards to our posture. It is interesting to note that humans are returning to their Neanderthal roots by adopting a similar hunkered position whilst using modern

Stand and deliver Perfect your posture bad




Sleeping Sitting or texting The advent of smartphones and tablets has led to the adoption of a flexed posture, this can lead to an abnormally curved spine and ‘pokey’ chin. Keep your ears, shoulders and hips aligned to reduce stress on the spine. If texting, typing or reading try to keep your neck position neutral by lifting the device/book higher and glancing down with your eyes. If you have

Whether you sleep on your side, front or back make sure that your spine is neutrally aligned. Having too many or too little pillows can increase the curves in your neck which can transmit further down the spine to the thoracic and lumbar levels. This can lead to restless nights, waking with aches and pains and mental or physical fatigue.

childhood memories of parental rebukes aimed at improving your posture. As an awkwardly tall and gangly teenager, towering at least a foot taller than my peers (including the boys) I remember this being all I seemingly ever heard. Some of you may empathise with those awkward teenage years, some of you may still even find yourselves recounting the admonishments as you catch yourself hunched over your PC or slouching infront of the telly. But what is posture, why is it so important and how can we improve it?

gadgets such as smartphones and iPads. In turn these static, inefficient postures are leading to a surge in reported cases of neck, shoulder, arm and back pain. In some cases the individual may suffer from referred pain symptoms such as pins and needles, numbness or even electric shocks running down their limbs, which can all result from these postures. Posture is not only a reflection of your physical state. The emotional wellbeing of an individual can be easily read through posture. A confident and happy person will often carry themselves with a tall, positive stance and hold their head up high. In contrast, a depressed, defeated individual will often hold their head low and stand and walk with a slouched body. This is not biomechanically effective and at some point this person will begin to feel pain somewhere in their body, which will only make matters worse for them.

“Humans are returning to their Neanderthal roots by using smartphones and iPads.”

Posture is simply a term that is used to describe the position and alignment of the body whilst performing a given activity. It is a dynamic process, even during static positions such as sitting or sleeping. The body constantly makes small changes to ensure that comfort is maintained within any given posture. Despite what your parents or teachers may have told you, there is no one correct position for posture. This can only be determined through the activity that is being performed. Adapting poor posture whilst performing an activity, whether reaching for an item off the top shelf of the cupboard or retrieving an unconscious body from a burning building, can result in injury, pain and consequent time off work. Unfortunately we are more predisposed to postural-related injuries as we age because we lead a more sedentary lifestyle which, in turn, leads to muscle weakness and difficulty in efficiently defying gravity.

Pain has a nasty habit of worsening posture as it tries to protect the body from further insult. This pain can reinforce a negative feedback and the individual in pain will move less, adopting static postures that are comfortable, and will certainly avoid any positions that may aggravate the symptoms. The body then becomes weaker and more vulnerable to injury. This in turn can trigger low moods which can further negatively impact posture, instigating a Catch-22 cycle. So, how should we all be sitting, standing, sleeping or driving? The pictures on the opposite page provide examples of good and bad posture for each of these scenarios. Try them for yourself and see what difference they make.


a tendency to slump, try rolling a towel and placing it in the small of your back to encourage you to sit tall.





Driving Setting up your seat correctly to drive will help your posture enormously. The seat should be set so that you can comfortably depress the pedals with a slight knee bend. The angle between your hips and trunk should be about 100-110 degrees for the correct seat height, but make sure you can still see clearly over the dashboard. The back rest of the chair should be angled slightly backwards from upright, around 100-110 degrees. If the steering wheel can be adjusted, bring it to a level in which your shoulders can remain relaxed when holding it. Lumbar supports or a rolled up towel in the small of your back can also be beneficial to provide support.

Standing Different standing postures can lead to a variety of musculoskeletal pain. To improve your posture, imagine a string attached to the top of your head pulling you upwards, keeping your body in perfect alignment whilst maintaining your spine’s natural curvature, neck straight and shoulders parallel with your hips. This can be achieved by keeping your shoulders back and relaxed, pulling in your abdomen, keeping your feet about hip distance apart, balancing your weight evenly on both feet, trying not to tilt your head forward, backward or sideways and keeping your legs straight, but knees relaxed.

IN THE NEXT ISSUE Find out what exercises you can do to strengthen and lengthen your muscles to support you throughout everyday postures.

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Mind over matter

Wake up to breakfast

Marine Court Psychological Therapists David Hayter and Lorri Craig on how mindfulness can help overcome anxiety and depression.

Harcombe House Exercise Therapist, Rob Smith, explains why breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and reveals what we should all be eating with our morning cuppa.

them or trying to block or run away from them. You don’t have to sit for hours in an uncomfortable cross legged pose in a cloud of incense to practice mindfulness. It can be practiced anywhere: on a chair, or bed, or even while doing everyday activities, like washing dishes, eating, or exercising.

Within the

The idea of having space and

Stop reading this and think about where you are. What can you hear? What thoughts are going

makes us feel good. Noticing how busy our minds are can help us to understand why we react to situations as we do and this understanding can help us to change those reactions. Stopping and developing this awareness can overcome the feeling of being trapped in a pattern of thinking and behaviour. A good way to start mindfulness is to take a raisin (other foods will do just as well) – look at it


It is generally

Find the freshest eggs possible and set a frying pan of water to boil. Once boiling, crack your eggs into the water as you would for a fried egg. Once the

psychological rehabilitation service we use a variety of theoretical backgrounds and ways of working. Our therapists are trained in psychology, psychoanalytic psychotherapy, humanistic psychotherapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) and in ways of working with trauma. Whatever the training and background of our therapists the main aim is the same – to enable beneficiaries to have a safe space in which they can explore issues which are bothering them or causing them some distress. Through exploration and thinking about the issues beneficiaries are able to develop a greater understanding, to express feelings they have been holding in and to see their lives from a different perspective. Sometimes they are able to find new ways of doing things or to start developing a solution for some problems.

time to think about a problem is important - so often it feels difficult to think about something, which provokes anxiety. Being in a room with a therapist who can understand your anxiety and who can cope with you talking about your depression or grief, means that you can start the process of change. For many people, mindfulness is also a helpful part of this change process. Very often anxiety develops when we focus too much on what might happen in the future. Depression, on the other hand, often occurs when we focus too much on what has happened in the past and we are unable to feel any hope. Mindfulness is about experiencing where we are at the moment.

through your head? How warm are you? What sensations can you feel? Developing an ability to focus on where we are helps us to see the patterns of our thinking – and this awareness means we can start to change those patterns. We can begin to perceive what happens to us in a different way. We can begin to notice what causes us stress and what

It is not necessary to ‘empty’ your mind to be mindful. For most of us that is almost impossible to do for any length of time. What we can learn to do with practice, is to get better at noticing our thoughts and emotions, as well as our sensory experiences of sounds, smells, tastes and physical sensations, without getting caught up in


in detail, notice it. Feel it with your eyes closed and be aware of how it feels as you turn it over in your fingers. Place it on your tongue and be aware of the sensation, slowly chew it and be aware of the taste and feel. Practising mindfulness can be very enjoyable, as well as a good step to getting better mental wellbeing. If nothing else, it’s a different way to savour your favourite dried fruit!

accepted that breakfast is good for your health with positive research suggesting that it can help protect your heart, reduce the risk of type two diabetes and increase your activity levels. However, breakfast cereals vary widely in their content and most are high in carbohydrate and sugar. The table to the right shows some of the best and worst (based on 100g of dry ingredients). If porridge oats and Shredded Wheat sound a bit boring why not try adding some chopped raw nuts or fresh berries? If you must have your sweet fix try adding a small amount of unsweetened dried fruit or a small squeeze of honey, but remember honey is still sugar! Variety is important to a healthy diet so if you are a serial cereal eater why not try some of these alternatives?

egg white has turned white, tip the water out of the pan and carefully use a spatula to place the eggs on your toast and finish with a sprinkle of pepper. The toast will provide you with some slow release carbohydrate and the eggs pack a good punch of protein and healthy fat to keep you full until lunch.



Add 80g of blueberries, toasted almonds and a small squeeze of honey to the yogurt for a breakfast packed full of protein and healthy fat. It’s also low in carbohydrate and sugar (especially if you do without the honey)

WHAT ABOUT HYDRATION? Orange juice is a common sight on the breakfast table for many families. OJ is healthy as part of a mixed diet, but a small glass (200ml) contains about 21g of sugar- which is the same as two thirds of a can of cola. So,

Porridge oats



Shredded Wheat



Chocolate Cheerios





Dorset berries granola if you’re current breakfast has a high sugar content it would be a good idea to skip the orange juice or change your breakfast for a lower sugar option. Tea or coffee is essential in the morning for many of us, but why not start the day with a glass of water

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Carbohydrate Sugar

as well to help rehydrate you following your sleep. Why not start tomorrow? Try some new breakfast ideas, reap the increased activity levels and protect your heart. It’s the most important meal of the day after all.



Retire, renew, refresh, review and rewind

FITNESS FIRST You’ve retired, so why should you continue to donate to The Fire Fighters Charity? It’s a commonly asked question, with a simple answer; the Charity is here to support both serving and retired firefighters and their families and, as costs increase, we need all our beneficiaries to help us raise the funds we need to ensure we are there for you throughout your life.


MEET DOUGLAS Retired Senior Fire Investigation Officer Douglas Naismith, 57, attended the reopening of the Clutha bar in Glasgow earlier this year where, in November 2013, a police helicopter crashed through the roof killing 10 people and leaving him injured. Douglas, himself from Glasgow, had been out for a drink with his friend, a fellow retired firefighter, in the city centre. Popping in to the Clutha bar to see what music was playing, leaving his friend outside, it was in that moment that the engines of the Eurocopter EC135 failed, sending it crashing into the busy pub. Douglas recalls; “It was surreal, there I was at the other end of a rescue attempt. There was just no-way I could get myself, or the four other people I was trying to give assistance to, out of there. A timber joist was on my pelvis.

“At the time [of the accident] I experienced neck pain as I had broken my clavicle,” Douglas explained. “It took forever to heal and then I started to experience a sharp pain in my left leg, so much so that it started to give way every couple of days. It got worse over the course of a year and eventually the doctors agreed that it was necessary to carry out a hip replacement.” Aware of his involvement in the Clutha accident Douglas was contacted by a Beneficiary Support Co-ordinator for The Fire Fighters Charity’s shortly after the events in November 2013. As a retired firefighter Douglas was eligible for support from the Charity and he twice attended a residential rehabilitation programme at the Charity’s dedicated rehabilitation centre – Jubilee House – in Penrith, Cumbria.

the events in the Clutha bar. “It has not been easy,” said Douglas. “I didn’t think I was affected by the aftermath for about six months. I have always used the services of the Charity and I made huge progress on these two visits, not just physically but mentally as well. I had Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR) treatment with the psychological team. I am absolutely delighted; psychologically I am in a much better place. What the Charity offered me was a way forward. “On my recent visit, my objective was to be able to put my socks on. Being able to do that has made the world of difference to me. I was also fortunate to use the Charity’s anti-gravity treadmill, which allowed me to run for the first time in 18 months.” Speaking of his long history

Thankfully we are now all living longer and, with advances in healthcare and an increased awareness around health and wellbeing, we can increasingly expect to do so in good health. However, in order to maintain our quality of life and level of function, we will inevitably require some form of input from healthcare-related services as time goes by. The Fire Fighters Charity provides rehabilitation support to thousands of retired firefighters and fire personnel, helping them to maintain their independence for longer. Of course, the benefits of maintaining good levels of fitness into older age are immeasurable and beneficiaries attending our centres can expect to be guided through a tailor-made exercise and rehabilitation programme to maximise their potential function. Whether walking, swimming or working out in the gym, our team of exercise therapists will explain the physiological and psychological benefits of exercise. However, no matter how well you do or how hard you work on your rehabilitation at a centre, it is vital you are able to

I was trying to keep the others calm, but it was not really a calm environment.” Although his injuries were thankfully not serious, the damage he sustained impacted substantially on his life thereafter.

Douglas’s visits have helped him to manage his shoulder and neck pain and to get back on his feet following his hip operation. He has also made use of the Charity’s psychological services to help him come to terms with

with The Fire Fighters Charity, Douglas added: “I was in the fire service for 30 years and it’s nearly 40 years now and the Charity is still taking care of me. How good is that? I am all for giving back.”

WILL YOU OR WON’T YOU? We all know that we should make a will, but many of us just haven’t got round to doing so. Having a will is the best way to guarantee your wishes are followed. It is the only way you can ensure that your possessions are passed on to those you care about. If you haven’t made a will then the state could decide how your assets are allocated, denying you the chance to dictate what your friends and family should receive. continue your increased levels of activity at home in a fun and safe manner. Our teams consequently signpost beneficiaries to appropriate activities in their local areas, explaining the benefits that can come from joining a local gym, cycling, walking, bowls, aqua fit, Tai Chi, Pilates or yoga, to name a few. By continuing to donate to the Charity after you have retired

from service, you are going to assist us in being able to provide these important support and signposting services for people throughout their lives, helping them to live independent, physically fit and active lives for longer. There are countless ways you can support and donate to The Fire Fighters Charity in your retirement. You can continue to regularly give with a recurring


Direct Debit donation, you could play the lottery – and win a life changing amount of money – fundraise in countless creative ways, or take part in a sponsored event. Whatever you can give, and however you can support, your help is appreciated by everyone at the Charity and all our beneficiaries. To find out more visit uk/donate

Of course, deciding to make a will can raise a number of questions: • How do I go about making a will? • How much will it cost? • What are my assets? • How much are they worth? • Who should I leave my possessions to? • Is it difficult to make a will? Whether you’ve decided to make your first will or want to update an existing one, our free will-making guide explains all the legal terms and helps you through the process. To receive a free will-making guide, simply visit FFCWMG and complete the form.

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Arthur Arnold, 87, sent us this great photo (below) of himself and his former colleagues, taken around September 1952 at London Training School, Lambeth. Arthur (first left, front row) wrote to Shout+ keen to find out what everyone else ended up doing. “We trained with the London boys and I remember we very often got the jobs they didn’t want to do,” he explained. “But we soon got to grips and found our feet, especially on hook ladder drills. The training was rigorous and stood us in good stead for the job. I wonder how it compares with today?” Arthur also remembers the man in charge, Station Officer

PAST AND RETIRED MEMBER ASSOCIATIONS We hope that you find this list useful, but if your association isn’t here and you’d like it to be, let us know by emailing us at

Bullock: “On Fridays we would be anxious to get back home but the Instructor Sub Officer/Station Officer Bullock left it until the last minute before ‘passing out.’” Others training at the same time included Jack Varney, Frank Messent and Stan Jones. Arthur would be keen to hear from you if you’ve heard of any of these names. Arthur was in Glamorgan Fire Brigade until 1962 then in Suffolk and Ipswich Fire Service/Suffolk Fire Service until retirement in 1982. So, if you know any of the men pictured and can help Arthur to find out more, please do get in touch with us at shout@ and we’ll pass on your details.

Arthur Arnold with some of his memorabilia

National Association of Retired Firefighters

NARF Buckinghamshire

Durham and Darlington Retired Members Networking Group

NARF East Sussex

ECFRS Retired Members Association

Hampshire Past Members Association

NARF Hereford and Worcester

Humberside Retirement Page

London Fire Brigade Retired Members Association

Find an old fire service friend

NARF Sheffield and Rotherham

Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue ‘Old Hands’ section

NARF West Midlands Branch

West Yorkshire Retired Members

Wiltshire Retired Firefighters Association


Chief Fire Officers Association

Keep fit by playing bowls, visit the FSSAA website

Firefighters Memorial Charitable Trust

Worshipful Company of Firefighters

Department of Work and Pensions

Civil Service Pensioners Alliance

National Pensioner’s Convention

Kent Fire & Rescue Retirement Association

Derbyshire NARF

Disclaimer: This information was collated by The Fire Fighters Charity and to our knowledge was correct at the time of going to print. We cannot be held responsible for any changes to this advice or for any external links or information.


Arthur Arnold – picture taken at London Training School Lambeth in 1952


In the first of a regular series Ian Ferguson, editor of the National Association of Retired Firefighters News, introduces the organisation.

may face. However, once you retire from and leave your employment, it can sometimes leave you feeling alone, isolated and quite vulnerable, because it’s sometimes difficult to know who to turn to if you’re in need of support.

The National Association of Retired Firefighters was founded in 1968 to look after the interests of retired firefighters, something that it continues to do today with approximately 8,000 members across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

This is where organisations like The Fire Fighters Charity and NARF can help. Both organisations boast a wealth of expertise, providing support and guidance on a wide range of subjects from pensions advice to help with physical or psychological needs. NARF officials at a branch and national level can offer members a huge amount of advice, depending on your type of membership.

When you’re part of an organisation like the Fire Service you have the safety and security of knowing that you should be able to call on help and support from within that organisation to help you through any problems you

Keeping in touch with past colleagues from the service and keeping informed of the developments that are taking place within the service is important and something at the heart of NARF. Every NARF branch holds regular meetings where past colleagues can get together for a catch up over a few drinks. As the secretary of my branch of NARF, I can say with some confidence that it really does people good to socialise.

Of course, being part of a retired members group also allows you to maintain and expand your social circle.

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Seeing 30 or 40 members in the same room, laughing and sharing memories is hugely satisfying and key to what NARF is all about. If you’d like to join NARF, it’s very easy and remember, it’s not just open to retired firefighters, it’s open to ALL retired Fire Service personnel, both uniformed and civilian staff from whatever department you used to work in. You can join NARF via the website at


It’s in the bag!


Help us to turn old clothes into £2,000,000 worth of life-changing opportunities for our beneficiaries. Today over 600 fire stations across the UK with a Fire Fighters Charity textile bank are busy collecting clothes that will raise vital funds for us. We really want to reach the TWO MILLION milestone. You can help, just take your textile recycling to the textile bank at your local fire station. Check our website to find your nearest textile bank.

Finalists for The Spirit of Fire 2015 Corporate Supporter of The Year award, Elvis and Kresse continue to support the Charity by donating generously to us each year. Repurposing reclaimed materials, including decommissioned fire hose, Elvis and Kresse design and produce a fantastic range of eye catching bags and accessories. What’s more, they’ve once again given us a fantastic prize for this edition of Shout!

Answer the startlingly simple question below and you could win a folio and 13” laptop case like this one. The outer skin of the folio is made from genuine decommissioned fire-hose and is extremely hardwearing. There is also an additional layer of closed cell foam and the lining is reclaimed parachute silk, offering ultimate protection to your laptop. It’s available in red or yellow fire-hose. To win this great prize, send your answer to this simple question, together with your name, address and a contact phone number to, or Shout! Magazine, The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG.

Which significant moment in British history was marked at the Spirit of Fire Awards 2015? A)

The end of the Second World War


The signing of the Magna Carta


The Great Fire of London

The winner will be picked at random from all correct entries – received on or before March 4, 2016 – and notified via email or telephone. Your information: The information you provide will be used by the Charity to fulfil your request. Your details may also be used to keep you informed about the Charity – please call 01256 366581 if you do not wish us to contact you.

RECYCLE FOR US Telephone: 01256 366566

Registered office: The Fire Fighters Charity, Level 6, Belvedere, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4HG


Charity registered in England and Wales (1093387) and Scotland (SC040096)

Royal Patron Her Majesty The Queen

Shout! Winter 2015