HAMPSHIRE and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) hosted a special evening to celebrate their amazing volunteers.

HIWFRS hosted their first volunteer recognition evening at their headquarters in Eastleigh on Tuesday, March 28.

The event was held to celebrate the 102 volunteers that currently support HIWFRS as well as to mark the service’s new Investing in Volunteers accreditation.

READ MORE: Andover ex-soldier exaggerated illness to sue MoD, judge rules

Volunteers and their families were invited to join HIWFRS colleagues, local dignitaries and senior officers to celebrate the impact volunteers have on the service and to share some of their first-hand experiences of volunteering.

Volunteer Graham Urwin who has been volunteering with HIWFRS for four years said: "I've always been treated like a member of the Service which means a great deal to me. I enjoy the camaraderie with other volunteers and colleagues, and I appreciate being valued and included.

“It's been extremely rewarding to participate in a wide array of activities which gives me personal satisfaction through helping to make a difference in our communities."

The HIWFRS Volunteer Programme began in 2010 and volunteers includie members of the community, current operational firefighters, and retired and ex-firefighters. They help to run the Fire Cadet units, promote fire safety at community events, deliver home fire safety visits, support the Prince’s Trust programme, run New Forest wildfire prevention patrols, act as casualties during training exercises and many other tasks.

SEE ALSO: Firefighters called to serious blaze at block of flats in Tidworth

Lee Joss, volunteer programme manager, added: "It's been an honour and a privilege to be involved in the HIWFRS Volunteer programme. I've met some truly amazing people and I’m very proud of all our volunteers who bring many qualities to the organisation.

"They enable us to further our reach and enhance the service we provide to our communities by providing additional capacity. My sincere thanks to all the volunteers and their families who enable them to give so much time and commitment to the service."

ACFO Stewart Adamson said: “We appreciate all the work that's gone into achieving this accreditation and recognising our volunteer programme.

"Thank you to our volunteers - it has been incredible to listen to the breadth of work that you do, the commitment that you give, and the impact of this. You assist us in our goal of 'making life safer'.”