FIREFIGHTERS from Worthing and Storrington were among those honoured for their long service at a special event at Arundel Castle.
The Long Service and Good Conduct medals were awarded by the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper, in the castle’s historic Barons Hall in front of an invited audience of proud family and friends on September 13.
The medals are awarded nationally, on behalf of the Queen, to firefighters who have completed two decades of outstanding service to their community.
The ceremony was also attended by county fire officer Max Hood, who paid tribute to the firefighters for their dedication and commitment to the fire service and their communities, as well as to the firefighters’ families for their long-standing support.
The Worthing and Storrington recipients were:
Dominic Bentley – Dominic has carried out his 20 years service at Worthing, spending his career to date on white watch. He is an active member of the watch, getting involved in the instructing and examining of other members of the watch in the use of specialist appliances. Dominic is described as an extremely dedicated and committed member of the team at Worthing, supporting his colleagues and line managers. He also has a very active role in the station social club. Prior to joining the fire service, Dominic was an electrical engineer. He lives in Fontwell and outside of the fire service, Dominic enjoys not only spending time with his family but also shooting, hunting, equestrian and rural activities.
Steve Pennicott – Steve joined the fire service in 1991 on red watch at Shoreham. While there, he took part in the Around Britain Challenge for Children in Need. In 1996, he ran the London Marathon, raising money for the Firefighter’s Charity and Cancer Research, which he completed in three hours 50 minutes. In 2000, Steve transferred to blue watch at Worthing, where he is said to be a highly-regarded member of the team. Prior to joining the fire service, Steve served on diesel submarines as a torpedo operator. He also represented the service in rugby and football but now enjoys just watching sport, especially Worthing Rugby Club. He still plays golf regularly and lives in Worthing.
Neal Coleman – Neal joined the fire service at the age of 18. He began his service at Shoreham Fire Station in 1991, where he stayed for six years before moving to blue watch at Worthing fire station and later red watch. It soon became apparent to Neal that he wanted to remain a frontline firefighter throughout his career, and he is still proud to be serving the community in that role. Neal has always maintained a high level of fitness, playing county level badminton and marathon kayak racing. In 1992, he qualified for the GB marathon kayak squad and in 1996 he competed in the World Marathon Kayak Championships in Sweden, having won gold in the Spanish Grand Prix earlier that year. The following year, he came fourth in the European Championships. Neal’s focus outside of the fire service is now on family life having two young children. Neal owes much of his achievements to the support of his parents and wife Debbie.
Joe Sacco – Joe started his fire service career as a retained firefighter at Worthing in 1991. He then became a full-time firefighter in 1998, and was posted at Horley Fire Station.
Two years later he moved back to Worthing, and in 2004 became a rescue technician with the emerging urban search and rescue unit. In 2006, he joined the newly formed technical rescue unit. While serving with the unit, Joe has been deployed to earthquakes in Indonesia and the devastating earthquake in Japan last year. He is a swift water instructor and now regularly trains other fire service personnel and rescue teams. Joe is held in high regard by those who work with him and his Station commander values his enthusiasm, friendship and professional conduct. Joe lives in Worthing, and hs other passion is photography and together with his wife Jayne, they run a successful photography business. Joe said his dedication to the service would not be possible without the wonderful support he gets from his wife Jayne, and his daughters, Aimee, Francesca and Antonia.
Dave Shaw – Dave joined the fire service in September, 1990, and completed his basic training at Wray Park, Surrey. He was then posted to Horsham, where he served on both red and white watches before moving to red watch Crawley in 1993. He gained promotion to crew commander in 2003, and in 2008 was selected for promotion to fire safety engineer in the fire safety department at Crawley. Dave is described as a valued member of the team and is currently temporarily promoted to protection manager at the Worthing and Adur protection hub. Dave has many interests outside of work, including visiting his cottage in northern Portugal, running and cycling. He has two grown-up children and a five-year-old grand-daughter who is “the apple of his eye”. Dave admits to being 50 this year and is planning a backpacking trip to Cambodia to celebrate.
Jonathon Younger – Jonathon joined the fire service in October, 1990, stationed at Storrington, where he is a member of the boat crew and swift water team. He is an extremely dedicated and committed member of the team, who likes serving the community. He has provided 24-hour cover for the duration of his career. Over the years, some of Jonathon’s most memorable incidents involved animal rescues, spending hours up to his armpits in slurry throughout West Sussex and the surrounding counties. Jonathon has worked for a small engineering firm for 26 years, making bespoke metal work. A member of the local cycling club, he enjoys exploring the South Downs on his bike. Jonathon is very proud to have achieved his Long Service and Good Conduct medal and would like to thank his colleagues and his family for their support.