Celebrating Dany Cotton, the first woman commissioner of London Fire Brigade

Our WFS Patron, Dany, officially steps down from her position at London Fire Brigade on 31 December after 32 years of dedicated service.

Dany has been on our National Executive Committee for 19 years and we are honoured she has served as a committed Vice-Chair, Chair, and Patron during that time. 

Contemplating life in the Fire and Rescue Service without Dany is a tall order. Her leadership skills, operational experience and prowess will be sorely missed. And also her ability to make people feel special and to feel part of the team, a personal quality much admired.

— Jules King, WFS Chair

As London Fire Brigade’s first woman Commissioner, she launched the #FirefightingSexism campaign in 2017, encouraging more women to become firefighters and helping banish harmful gender stereotypes. She has been a true role model and inspiration, not only to firefighters but also to young people looking at career choices. 

Our Secretary and Director, Cheryl Rolph, first met Dany in 1998 at an early Women in the Fire Service event. Summarising the thoughts and feelings of the WFS network, especially those who paid tribute at Dany’s Guard of Honour on her last day in office, Cheryl said:

Today marks a very sad day for the Fire and Rescue Service in that we say farewell as Dany Cotton hangs up her fire boots. 

As our Patron and Director and former Chair of Women in the Fire Service UK, Dany has been associated with us for over 20 years. During that time she inspired hundreds of women, and was ever-present at annual conferences — being visible,  vocal, valiant and venerable. And in the next chapter of her life, we know her achievements and accomplishments will continue to inspire another generation. 

Fortunately for us, Dany has agreed to remain our patron and will continue to help, assist, advise and inspire, and for that, we are extremely grateful.

On behalf of everyone in the WFS network, we wish Dany all the very best. She deserves the best because she has given the Fire and Rescue Service her very best, and she simply is the best.

— Cheryl Rolph, WFS Secretary and Director