Our firefighters win top award

Red Hot Dates'Firefighters calendar.
Red Hot Dates'Firefighters calendar.

It’S official – our firefighters are the most generous in the country!

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has been named Charity Fundraising Brigade of the Year at an awards ceremony put on by the Fire Fighters Charity.

The Spirit of Fire Awards was to showcase the best of the fire brigades around the country, and an audience which included Ken Livingstone and Kevin Keegan, saw the Birkenshaw-based West Yorkshire service pick up the gong at the ceremony in London last Friday.

Watch commander Paul Austin and crew commander Paul Wilson, who were representing West Yorkshire at the bash, were invited to a Downing Street reception, where they met Communities Secretary Eric Pickles before the ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel.

The West Yorkshire force won the award due to the extensive charity work done by its firefighters including bag-packs, car washes and pie and pea suppers. The annual Emergency Services Gala in Birkenshaw raises thousands of pounds for the charity, and the new Red Hot Dates charity calendar is already proving very popular.

West Yorkshire Chief Fire Officer Simon Pelling paid tribute to the force, which beat competition from Northamptonshire and Strathclyde.

He said: “I am very proud that our staff have been recognised by the Fire Fighters Charity. Many individuals from around this organisation devote a great deal of their own time to ensure that an exciting calendar of charity events takes place.”

Last year, the force raised an incredible £216,000 for the Fire Fighters Charity alone, with thousands going to other charitable organisations.