Jules King – Chair
Jules works for East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (ESFRS) and is the Chair of Women in the Fire Service UK and the portfolio holder for Learning and Development. Within ESFRS she is the Group Commander for Hastings and Rother which covers approximately one third of East Sussex and has seven Fire Stations including shift, day crewed and retained duty staff.
She has been involved with WFS for the last 16 years and before that regularly attended the WFS conferences organised at the Fire Service College and other Services. She also attended the very first ‘Networking Women in the Fire Service’ conference in 1996.
Jules joined the Fire & Rescue Service in 1994, originally being posted to Eastbourne Fire station. Since then she has worked at various locations across the county in different roles. In 2002, she was promoted to Station Manager for Crowborough and Forest Row, and then transferred to Station manager for Wadhurst, Mayfield, Heathfield and Burwash in 2005.
She was appointed as the Borough Commander for Hastings in 2006 which was part of a new Borough Structure introduced in East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service. In 2009 she became the Borough Commander for Eastbourne, staying for three years before taking a sideways move into headquarters and working as the lead Fire Investigation Officer for the Service for 18 months. In June 2013, she took up the position of Command and Operational Manager within Learning and Organisational Development. Jules moved into her most recent role in May 2016.
Away from work, she loves being outdoors and spending many happy hours on the South Downs with her family. She plays hockey for a local team, is a keen football fan and enjoys running and cycling. She is also part of a Professional Women’s Group in East Sussex which supports and compliments the work of WFS.
Dany Cotton QFSM – Patron
Dany joined the Fire Service aged 18, after leaving college in 1988. She attained her first rank of promotion after serving seven years as an operational firefighter. She served at several fire stations in different roles over the years and following an initial interim period, was the Commissioner of London Fire Brigade from 2017 to 2019. She was the first woman to hold this position.
She has been involved with WFS since 1998 and became Chair in 2013. Some of the highlights of her career include being awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal in the New Year Honours list in 2004; being named as Public Servant of the Year in 2002; being the winner of the First Women Award in the category of the Public Sector 2014 and the Most Influential Woman in Fire in 2015.
Outside of work her hobbies include mountain biking, fitness training, skiing and watching British Touring Cars.
Alex Johnson – Liaison and Partnerships
Alex joined Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service as a firefighter in 1992, serving at both rural and city centre stations across the county. She rose to the rank of Area Manager, leading the service’s prevention, protection and inclusion work.
She has worked at the service’s training centre, both as breathing apparatus instructor and group manager, and is a fully qualified fire protection officer. She served with Derbyshire Fire & Rescue for more than 25 years.
Alex joined South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue as Assistant Chief Fire Officer in 2017, before being promoted to Deputy Chief Fire Officer. She was appointed Chief Fire Officer of South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue in January 2020.
She has been a member of the Executive Committee of WFS for many years and previously been the women’s representative for the Fire Brigades Union in Derbyshire. Supporting women and enabling them to reach their full potential is something she has always been passionate about.
Caroline Anderson QFSM – Vice Chair
Caroline joined Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service as an on-call firefighter in 2004 and soon realised she had found a career she loved, even if a little late aged 38.
She has gained much experience in the fire service including community safety, with a particular passion for road safety education, protection, firesetter intervention and staff support. In 2010 she secured a secondment at headquarters in the equality and diversity department.
Her first undertaking with the organisation was attending the Networking Women in the Fire Service training and development event in Newcastle. Inspired by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the women she met there, she joined as a Regional Representative and hasn’t looked back since. She is currently Recruitment and Retention Officer for Devon & Somerset Fire Service.
Caroline lives in North Devon with her cats and her favourite pastimes are walking in the countryside, cooking, eating and watching rugby.
Cheryl Rolph OBE, MA, MSc – Company Secretary
Cheryl has been involved with WFS since 1993. Since 1997 she’s taken an active role in the Event Management Team, been Vice-Chair, HR Director and Director of WFS. Since retiring from the Fire and Rescue Service in 2015 she has supported the WFS Executive Committee, and in 2018 was appointed Company Secretary.
Joining the Fire and Rescue Service in 1989 as an Emergency Control Operator, she progressed to managing the control centre and in 1995 was appointed as staff officer to the Chief Fire Officer/Deputy Chief Fire Officer. In 1997, she was appointed as Assistant Chief Officer before being made substantive in 1998. From 2000-2001 Cheryl was the Chief Executive of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority, the first woman and support officer in role.
In 2005 after being awarded an OBE for services to the Fire and Rescue Service, Cheryl left Cambridge FRS and joined East Sussex FRS. Cheryl has served 36 years in the Fire and Rescue Services.
Following a period of health-related issues, she took early retirement but never one to sit still, now enjoys various roles. In addition to being the Secretary of WFS, she is training to be a celebrant and runs her own coaching business.
Outside of her volunteering commitments, retirement has given her more time to spend with John, her husband, her children, grandchildren, dogs, cats and fish.
Louise Brown BSc (Hons) MSc, Chartered MCIPD – HR Consultant
Louise worked for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service for over 12 years in their HR department and became a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) in 2008.
She has extensive HR experience, having worked her way up from HR Administrator to a Senior HR Partner before leaving in 2016 to gain experience in different industries.
Louise has been an Honorary Officer since 2012 and believes in WFS so strongly that she remained dedicated to the role when she left the fire service. A big advocate of supporting the development of women – she believes with encouragement, people can achieve anything they want to. Volunteering with WFS has increased her self-confidence and in 2016 she achieved a Masters in Human Resource Management.
Louise took a big (and scary) leap into the unknown when she left the fire service but finally settled into a role she loved at Ageas Insurance as an HR Business Partner.
Outside of work she enjoys camping, keeping fit, listening to music and learning new things. She’s also quite fond of cats.
Amy Webb – Director of Finance & Resourcing
Amy is an ACCA qualified accountant with a range of financial experience in both the public and private sector, from SME to multinational companies. She is currently Director of Finance & Resourcing for Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, which brings a variety of interesting challenges to the day job. She chairs the Fire Finance Network and is Vice-Chair for the National Fire Chiefs Council Finance Committee, which involves work at a national level to secure sustainable funding for the sector.
She is actively involved in the strategic leadership of the board and has developed skills in leading, coaching and mentoring through the Glass Lift Elevate Programme, a training course specifically designed for women. Amy is passionate about equal rights and an advocate for diversity in all sectors.
She joined WFS in 2016 to become engaged with the group and offer her executive-level skills whilst promoting diversity locally and nationally. She’s a firm believer that we never stop learning – WFS offers her opportunity to hear other women’s stories and gain insight from them.
In her downtime, she enjoys cooking spicy vegan food, going to festivals and gigs, and dabbles in singing. She was inspired to take up running after taking part in a parkrun event at the 2019 WFS training and development event.
Nicola Lown – Regional Support and International Rep
Nicola left college with a Medical Secretaries Diploma in 1988 and moved to London where she lived and worked in the West End. She joined London Fire Brigade in 1995 serving as a firefighter and then crew manager until she transferred to Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service in 2001 to be a Sub-Officer.
During her time at Gloucester Service, Nicola was seconded to the Fire Service College as Station Manager (2007-2010) in the Incident Command Team, an opportunity and privilege that she was proud to be afforded.
She returned to the London Fire Brigade in 2013 where she is now a Group Commander in the Talent and Recruitment Team. Nicola strives to nurture and support people throughout their careers, as well as providing operational cover.
Her hobbies include cycling, diving and skiing and she plans to continue travelling to as many places as her leave and funds allow.