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Firefighters recognised in Signal Local Hero Awards

October 11 2018
L-r back row Sam King, Simon Filson, Mark Shea,

L-r back row Sam King, Simon Filson, Mark Shea,

Firefighters who attended a serious road traffic collision in which a young girl was trapped have been recognised at this year’s Signal Local Hero Awards.

We were really touched and surprised when we heard the three watches had been nominated for this award. Mick and Sam hadn’t even thought about what they might say if we won! Consequently, what they said when they accepted the award on behalf of the Service was straight from the heart: they were all just doing their job to the best of their ability and trying to make sure they did everything they could to help Olivia.

Newcastle Station Manager, Ruth Watchorn-Rice

Crews from White Watch and Orange Watch at Newcastle and White Watch at Hanley attended the incident in Newcastle on September 16, 2017. The young girl, Olivia Harding had been travelling in the car with her father. Unfortunately she was trapped by her legs. To be able to free her and save her life, one of Olivia’s legs had to be amputated at the scene. 

One year on, Olivia is making great progress. She now has a prosthetic leg and a blade so she can take part in sport now that she has gone to high school. She has also spent a great deal of time and effort fundraising for charity. She has not forgotten the people who saved her and has kept in touch with the firefighters at Newcastle and Hanley, giving updates on how she has adapted to her new way of living. Grateful to the firefighters who looked after her during the incident, it was Olivia who nominated them for the award. 

Firefighters Mark Shea and Sam King went along to the event at Crewe Hall last night (Wednesday, October 10) to represent the watches and accepted the award on their behalf. They were the firefighters who were sited close to Olivia when she was trapped. 

Newcastle Station Manager, Ruth Watchorn-Rice said: “We were really touched and surprised when we heard the three watches had been nominated for this award. Mick and Sam hadn’t even thought about what they might say if we won! Consequently, what they said when they accepted the award on behalf of the Service was straight from the heart: they were all just doing their job to the best of their ability and trying to make sure they did everything they could to help Olivia. 

“They don’t feel they did anything unusual: as far as they were concerned, they were just doing their job. It sounds a bit like a cliché, but that’s how our firefighters think. They know when they join the Service that they are likely to find themselves in dangerous or upsetting situations and they approach each one with the same level of professionalism. Even though they don’t do the job to get public recognition it’s nice for our firefighters to know that what they do is appreciated. With or without awards, I’m really proud of what we do as a Service.”