A member of staff from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) has won a national award in recognition of her dedication to an annual Christmas Day lunch.
Watch Manager Kate Dewey, who works in the Service Control Centre, was named as Community Champion at this year’s APD National Control Room Awards, held in Nottingham on 7 March.
The Awards aim to shine a light on the ‘hidden heroes’ of the control room community, across all emergency services. There were almost 400 nominations from more than 60 organisations committed to serving the public and safeguarding society, and DWFRS was the only fire and rescue service to feature in the final shortlists.
Alongside Kate, Red Watch Control were also finalists, featuring in the shortlist of three for Team of the Year.
Kate has been an integral part of ‘Company for Christmas’ for nearly ten years. This Christmas Day lunch, originally held at Trowbridge fire station for people who would otherwise have been on their own, has now grown to an event supporting over 200 people and is hosted at County Hall in Trowbridge, in partnership with Wiltshire Council.
After the original lead organiser had to take a step back for health reasons, Kate took on more responsibility and is now the event’s driving force. The judges said: “Kate is the backbone of a project that she works on all year round and culminates in a very special Christmas Day lunch for homeless and lonely people. Kate is utterly selfless and dedicates herself to people in the most difficult of circumstances. On duty or off duty, she is always on public service.”
The Community Champion Award was sponsored by Northgate Public Services; also shortlisted were Romel Davis of Nottinghamshire Police, and Jonathan Tones of North East Ambulance Service.
Chief Fire Officer Ben Ansell attended the ceremony in support of Kate and Red Watch. He said: “I am immensely proud that our Service had two finalists for these prestigious national awards, and that we were the only fire and rescue service in the country to feature on the final shortlists. Anyone who has had any dealings with Kate and her commitment to ‘Company for Christmas’ will understand why she won; she is always available to support those people who the lunch is held for, and she is always seeking to make the event even better year on year. While there is a whole team involved, it is Kate’s passion and leadership which makes it so successful.”
He added: “While Red Watch were pipped to the post in their category by a team from Durham Constabulary, I was delighted to see them recognised in this way. From the nerve agent major incident in Salisbury last spring, to several significant heath fires last summer, the team were at the forefront of some of our busiest and most challenging periods. Everyone sees the fire engines at the scene, but we are truly one team and our Fire Control operators play an absolutely vital role, receiving and managing the 999 calls, getting the right resources to the right places at the right time, and keeping our firefighters on the ground fully informed with everything they need to know. I would like to thank the event sponsors and congratulate all the worthy winners from Control Rooms right across the UK.”
More about the awards can be found at www.controlroomawards.com