A DEPUTY chief fire officer has been recognised with a King’s Fire Service Medal.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is celebrating with Deputy Chief Fire Officer (DCFO) Derek James, after he was recognised with the medial in the 2023 New Year Honours List.

DCFO James has been recognised for his outstanding leadership and commitment to serving the communities of Dorset and Wiltshire. The fire crews often brush into Ludgershall and Tidworth, near Andover.

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Derek was instrumental in the formation of Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and Authority in 2016. Derek’s vision helped protect frontline services, while achieving savings of over £8m per year and subsequently securing high ratings from government Inspectors.

He said: “I am honoured to have been recognised by His Majesty. Throughout my career I have always done my upmost to help ensure we are a strong fire and rescue service that serves our communities well. I work alongside a bunch of fantastic people who work tirelessly at all levels to help make this happen. This award says as much about them as it does me.”

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Meanwhile chief fire officer, Ben Ansell added: “I am absolutely delighted that Derek has been recognised nationally for his outstanding leadership in the fire and rescue sector. His skills, passion and leadership have been invaluable, and he has supported me and the Service in responding to the many challenges and large-scale incidents that we have faced over the years.”

The chair of the fire authority Cllr Rebecca Knox has also joined in with the celebrations.

She added: “I am really pleased that Derek has been recognised for his leadership and commitment to the fire and rescue service by His Majesty the King. As Deputy Chief, Derek works hard to support others and lead an outstanding team who provide a vital service to the public across Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole, Dorset, Swindon and Wiltshire. On behalf of the Fire and Rescue Authority, I send our warmest congratulations."