Awards for 20 years of service to fire brigade

Two officials from the Chorley-based training centre for the Lancashire Fire Service have been recognised for their 20-year contributions to the job.

Ruth Royster from Eccleston and Stuart Hartley from Colne both work at the Washington Lane-based centre.

They were treated like celebrities as fire service bosses helped mark their special achievements.

A spokesman for Lancashire Fire Service said: “Ruth is still an enthusiastic and crucial member of the Washington Hall team.

“She recalled the excitement that its status as an International and Commercial Training Centre brought, with trainees from all over the world and from many different firefighting and rescue service contexts.

“Even so, as an administration manager now responsible for nine staff, Ruth describes the changes at Washington Hall as having brought about different challenges.

“But in an environment where greater two-way communication than before and greater responsibility delegated to individuals count as changes for the better.”

Her colleague Stuart Hartley was recognised for his role as a full-time trainer.

A spokesman for the Lancashire Fire Service said: “Stuart remembers his over-eagerness to respond efficiently to his first ‘shout or job’, such that he fell, fortunately without injuring himself as he clambered on board the fire engine.

“Even then, although he had the cool efficiency he aimed for he was so horrified at the prospect of not hearing the sound of his alerter that he put it in a baking tin to amplify the sound of it going off.”

Stuart started off life as a farmer and then decided to become a fireman to supplement his income.

He has stepped down from a role as a firefighter and instead now plays a part in training future crews.

Stuart said: “I have learned more about the science of fire in my present role than I ever did as a firefighter and he finds the work fascinating.

“I am pleased to get involved in the rehabilitation of young people who have been also been setting fires deliberately but as a criminal activity.

“Seeing them change from youngsters harbouring a range of antisocial behaviours into people who see the sense in becoming law-abiding and positive in their approach to life .

“It is good being part of the transformation process has been an immense source of satisfaction for me.”