Women in the Fire Service Awards 2024: Celebrating Excellence in the Fire and Rescue Service

proudly sponsored by MSA The Safety Company

Women in the Fire Service (WFS) is proud to announce the winners of The Women in the Fire Service Awards 2024. These prestigious awards recognise the outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals within the fire and rescue sector, highlighting their dedication, leadership, and impact.

WFS Chair, Jules King QFSM said, “We were thrilled to have a record number of nominations this year, and it was an honour to review and engage in discussions about the award submissions alongside the panel. As always it was challenging to select our winners. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to each and every nominee for their remarkable achievements. Additionally, I would like to thank all the nominators for setting an example. Without your contributions, these accomplishments would not receive the recognition and celebration they deserve.”

Alex Johnson QFSM, WFS Patron and Awards Panel Judge highlighted that all nominated should be proud of their achievements, saying: “This year we have been overwhelmed by the number of nominations we received for the WFS awards. 106 nominations were received over 9 different award titles.

We had to hold multiple judging meetings to ensure we gave each nomination the time it truly deserved. It was difficult deciding between the nominees and whilst the winners deserve recognition, everyone else should be proud that someone took the time to nominate them. It was a pleasure to read the wonderful stories which reflect the courage, passion, humility and dedication of the women and men associated with WFS. Huge congratulations to the winners!”

Advocate of Excellence Award sponsored by Hainsworth Protective Fabrics

Winner is Amy Croxton-Evans from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Since 2017 she has been WFS Local Rep and Regional Rep for Wales for the last year, and has been recognised for being instrumental in advancing the WFS mission and contributing to the development of a more progressive Fire and Rescue Service for women. Amy has been described by her nominator as “playing a pivotal role in driving positive change within local or regional contexts, ensuring that women in the Fire and Rescue Service are supported, empowered, and represented effectively.”

Amy said: “Ultimately the work I do for WFS is a team effort, Locally, Regionally and Nationally and isn’t for recognition, but to assist in the building of our Service, and the future for those that follow us. I am humbled and proud to accept the award on behalf of inspirational women everywhere!”

The joint runners up are Jo Dawson from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and Rebecca Sims from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Jo (front) is WFS Local Rep for Nottinghamshire. She has advanced the mission of WFS and this nomination was recognition of her dedication, tireless efforts, and unwavering commitment to the cause.

Rebecca is WFS Regional Rep for East Midlands. She has been a positive advocate for women in the fire service for many years. She has been described as “fearless when promoting the inclusion and development of women leaders.”

Bright Light Award sponsored by Emergency Services Times

Winner of the Bright Light Award is Georgina Ralph from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Recognised for her proactive approach, Georgina organised an alternative development weekend in response to the high demand for tickets to the 2023 WFS Training and Development Event. She worked tirelessly to secure a location, develop an interactive and dynamic agenda, and ensure that staff from all over the service had access to attend the event. This was all in addition to being a mum and working full time as a crew manager.

She has been described by her nominator as “One of the most humble people I know and doesn’t see how spectacular her achievements are.”

Georgina said “I’m incredibly honoured to be selected to win this award, reading through the thoughtful nominations from my colleagues (people I hold in high regard) was overwhelming to say the least. I’m grateful for my passion and hard work to be recognised, and eager to see what opportunities will come next!”

The runner up for the Bright Light Award is Laila Abdullah from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service. She is celebrated for offering inspiration and support to women in her community and beyond. Her dedication to advocating for women’s empowerment and commitment to TWFS’s vision make her a deserving runner up for this award.

Dany Cotton Inspiring Leader Award sponsored by Dräger

Winner of the Dany Cotton Inspiring Leader Award is Dawn Whittaker KFSM, Chief Fire Officer at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service. Her outstanding leadership and unwavering dedication to promoting equality and diversity within ESFRS and the UK Fire & Rescue Service makes her a worthy winner of this award. She actively advocates for the upliftment of other women and volunteers her time to support individuals across the sector. Despite her demanding role within ESFRS,

Dawn displays exceptional availability and remains a steadfast advocate for women’s empowerment. Her strength, passion, and fearlessness in challenging perceptions make her a strong leader. She was described by nominator “As one of the strongest champions of equality and diversity that I know.”

Dawn said: “It was a complete surprise to be both nominated and win this award. I consider it a privilege to work with many wonderful women in the sector and think its hugely important to celebrate success and be part of such a supportive network as WFS. It also important to be prepared to speak out when challenge and change is needed and encourage others to also do so.”

The runner up for the Dany Cotton Inspiring Leader Award is Bow Jackson from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service. As a Fitness Advisor and on call firefighter, she has spearheaded initiatives that have significantly improved the wellbeing of her colleagues. Her exceptional leadership and commitment to supporting colleagues, wellness, and breaking gender barriers make her a true inspiration in the firefighting community and beyond.

Digital Trailblazer Award

Winner of the Digital Trailblazer Award is Siobhan Priest from London Fire Brigade, for her impactful use of social media to inspire, educate, and promote diversity within the fire service. Her ability to break barriers and empower individuals from all backgrounds through her online presence makes her a deserving recipient of the award. By sharing personal journeys and fostering supportive communities, Siobhan ignites enthusiasm and encourages others to explore and pursue careers in firefighting.

Siobhan represents mothers in the fire service and has successfully navigated a career change, progressing through an apprenticeship. Her journey resonates with numerous followers, adding to her relatability.

Image: Siobhan with her daughter, who is a fire cadet.

Siobhan said: Thank you so much to WFS for this award and for recognising my efforts and intentions across social media to inspire others and give an insight into every aspect of the role of a firefighter. These channels have allowed myself and others to create a nationwide community of firefighters and other FRS staff.”

Runner up for the Digital Trailblazer is Angela Everington from Surrey Fire and Rescue Service. As an advocate for women in the fire service, she shares her personal experiences in day to day life, fitness and her firefighter journey, to encourage others to pursue their dreams. Angela’s positive image and advocacy efforts make her a positive force and a deserving runner up.

Exceptional Allies Award

Winner of the Exceptional Allies Award is Kevin Tedds from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service. Kevin is recognised as a winner for his unwavering commitment to challenging gendered language and promoting inclusivity in the workplace and on social media. He actively supports women in their career advancement within the fire service, providing guidance and feedback to help them excel.

Additionally, Kevin has demonstrated dedication to improving welfare and period dignity provisions, ensuring a safer and more supportive environment for all individuals to thrive. His efforts reflect his commitment to creating a workplace where everyone, especially women, can reach their full potential.

He is described as “A great role model to allies across the sector and isn’t afraid to stand up for what’s right, not just go along with what’s easy.”

Runner up for the Exceptional Allies Award is Dave Bond from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. Passionate about inclusion and diversity, Dave actively seeks new ways to improve and collaborates with others towards this goal. He is an active member of the Women’s Forum, which highlights his commitment to supporting gender equality.

Firefighter Rising Star Award sponsored by Practice to Progress

Winner of the Firefighter Rising Star Award is Beth Barton from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Beth has many multifaceted roles, including Consultant Intensivist and Pre-Hospital Emergency Medicine Resuscitation Clinical Lead, as well as being an On-call Firefighter for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. Beth was asked on her initial training course why she wanted to join the Fire Service and responded “because someone told me I couldn’t”.

Following on from this, her determination to prove herself, has been a driving force throughout her career. Actively seeking opportunities for development, Beth has focused on building bridges within the training department, showcasing her commitment to growth and excellence. She has been a guiding light for gender equality in the Fire Service.

Her nominator said: “Her skillset is invaluable, but more importantly her attitude is what Fire and Rescue Services up and down the country need, a real rising star.”

Beth said: “It was a huge surprise to be nominated, let alone to win an award – I have met so many inspirational firefighters and staff both within SWFRS and through the WFS, each of whom does an incredible job and is at least as deserving of recognition. Thank you! #IfYouCanSeeIt”

Runner up for the Firefighter Rising Star Award is Danielle Whitham from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service. Graduating as the top trainee 6 years ago, she has established herself within the service, now assuming a role as a temporary Crew Manager on the firefighter training team. Her dedication to empowering women is evident in her the establishment of a West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Women’s football team.

Fundraising Hero Award sponsored by PBI Performance Fabrics

Winner of the Fundraising Hero Award is Rachel Streeting from Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service. Over the past 25 years, she has raised over £75,000 for the Fire Fighters Charity, showcasing exceptional commitment and self-sacrifice. Serving as the Charity ambassador at WFRS for nearly 25 years, Rachel’s involvement in community events, such as Nuneaton and Stratford’s Open Days, demonstrates her unwavering desire to support the station and engage with the local community. She is very well known in her local area and local Councillors have stated that her hard work over the years is the reason why Nuneaton Community relationships are so positive as the promotion of her strong core values and professional behaviours are always at the forefront of everything she does. Her longstanding dedication to charity and community service makes her a deserving recipient of this award.

Her nominator said: “Rachel’s endless enthusiasm and dedicated commitment to everything she tackles is not only recognised by the Service, but by the wider Community that she serves.” Rachel wanted nothing more than to work for the Fire Service and by the time she retires, she can retire knowing she has contributed above and beyond what anyone could achieve in a working lifetime.”

Outstanding Team Award sponsored by National Fire Chiefs Council

Winners of the Outstanding Team Award is Rebecca Openshaw-Rowe from Mid and West Wales Fire Service and Georgina Gilbert from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service known together as The Antarctic Fire Angels. The Antarctic Fire Angels have made history as the first emergency services team to traverse Antarctica, pioneering a new route covering 1230km.

Their remarkable journey, spanning nearly four years, showcased unparalleled endurance, resilience, mental toughness, and teamwork. Through their extraordinary feat, they have inspired a generation of young females to believe in themselves and their capabilities. Active within fire cadets, communities, and public arenas, George and Bex champion and advocate for empowerment, embodying the tagline “Ordinary women doing extraordinary things.” Their ground breaking achievement and ongoing advocacy continue to inspire future generations within and beyond the Fire and Rescue Service.

They said: “It’s a huge privilege to be nominated and go on to win this award for ‘Outstanding team’. It’s very humbling to see our achievements being recognised by WFS and acknowledgement of the impact on the fire and rescue service. Thank you for believing in us.”

Runners up for the Outstanding Team Award is Dunvegan Fire Station from Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. They are a retained station on the Isle of Skye, who demonstrate exceptional dedication and creativity in promoting on-call firefighter recruitment. With a crew of only six, including two females, they produced a captivating music video titled “Things are Hotting up,” showcasing the life of rural firefighters. This even reached the German press, and effectively promoted recruitment while raising funds for charity.

Youth Inspiration Award sponsored by Institution of Fire Engineers

Winner of the Youth Inspiration Award is Lilia Gibrat from Northamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets. Lilia’s journey from Fire Cadet to Cadet Leader exemplifies her remarkable growth and dedication. Overcoming anxieties and low confidence, she excelled in drill yard skills, becoming a fire specialism Cadet. She became CFO Cadet between 2022-2023, where she actively advocated for young people’s voices, participating in discussions on important topics.

Lilia engages with the community, prioritising safety by providing prevention advice and promoting diversity in the Fire service, notably at events like PRIDE and Diwali. Her commitment extends to supporting cadets with special needs, ensuring inclusion in all fire skills activities. Currently pursuing a Fire and Rescue BSc (Hons) at Wolverhampton Uni, Lilia’s passion for becoming a wholetime Firefighter is evident, exemplifying her belief that dreams can become reality.

Her nominator said: “Lilia is passionate about the community; she has tremendous drive and enthusiasm for all. She is a positive role model who actively promotes equality and diversity by helping those who struggle and need support.”

Lilia said: “I wasn’t expecting to be nominated let alone win an award. It’s an honour! I am very grateful to have found a path that I feel will fulfil me personally and professionally. I really want to thank the Northamptonshire Fire cadet leaders for helping me and guiding me on this path. I am looking forward to finishing my BSc (hons) Fire and Rescue degree in Wolverhampton and am now even more motivated to carry on encouraging cadets to pursue a career in fire and rescue.”

Runner up for the Youth Inspiration Award is Carlie Wright from Hampshire Fire Cadets. Despite personal challenges, Carlie remained devoted to cadets, attending numerous events and even speaking in front of large audiences. In her passout parade, she eloquently shared her own transformation, emphasising her desire to help other cadets build confidence and skills. Carlie’s dedication to supporting others and her personal growth make her a deserving runner-up.

Congratulations to all the winners and runners-up! You can see list of nominees below.

Abbi HallamDerbyshire Fire & Rescue Service
Alison PhillipsAvon Fire & Rescue Service
Amy CroxtonNorth Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Amy HopkinsWest Midlands Fire Service
Andy McKayLondon Fire Brigade
Angela EveringtonSurrey Fire & Rescue Service
Anna JamesAvon Fire & Rescue Service
Annette GoodmanShropshire Fire and Rescue Service
Annie CoppingBuckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service
Annie PrattHampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service
Axminster Fire StationDevon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
Becky RimmerOxfordshire Fire & Rescue Service
Beth MedwayHampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service
Bow JacksonDevon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
Brian WardleScottish Fire and Rescue Service
Carlie WrightHampshire Fire Cadets
Catherine Victoria HodgeScottish Fire and Rescue Service
Charlotte CowleyNorthamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service
Charlotte SimpsonWest Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
Christine Bevan and Demi Efe, and the GMFRS Women’s Football TeamGreater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
Claire TaitHumberside Fire & Rescue Service
Community Safety Officers – DerbyshireDerbyshire Fire & Rescue Service
Danielle WhithamWest Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
Dave BondEssex County Fire and Rescue Service
Dawn Whittaker KFSMEast Sussex Fire and Rescue Service
Devon BurnellGreater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
Di ClackAvon Fire & Rescue Service
Dunvegan Fire StationScottish Fire and Rescue Service
Elizabeth  BartonSouth Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Elizabeth AtkinLincolnshire Fire and Rescue
Emily TavinorHertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Emma PunchardSuffolk Fire and Rescue Service
Emma WillshawDevon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
Felicity ScreenRoyal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Francesca ThomasEssex County Fire and Rescue Service
Georgina RalphWest Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
Gill CockburnWest Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
Gosia FrakAvon Fire & Rescue Service
Hannah SherwoodHertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Helen AntrobusHertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Helena BrownGreater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
Home Safety TeamDevon and Somerset Fire Service
Jane PhilpottJersey Fire and Rescue Service
Jennie SchampNorfolk Fire and Rescue Service
Jo DawsonNottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
Jo Mankel, Rita Richardson, Rachel Stewart, Gilly Hibberd, Aileen Wilson, Denise Whitting and Kirsty McLoughlinNFCC Fire Safety Intervention Core Team (formally Firesetters)
Jolene O’SullivanDerbyshire Fire & Rescue Service
Joshua CainHampshire & Isle of Wight Fire Cadets
Julia MackenzieScottish Fire and Rescue Service
Kate Garrigan and the Community Safety TeamLeicestershire Fire and Rescue Service
Katie Mae Sharp, Nicola Roe and Julie AllenEssex County Fire and Rescue service
Kayleigh McInnesScottish Fire and Rescue Service
Kevin TeddsNottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
Laila AbdullahTyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
Larissa FitzgeraldNorfolk Fire and Rescue Service
Laura BoocockWest Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Laurel RayLincolnshire Fire and Rescue
Leah SmithDorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service
LFR UKRO Team (led by Chris Rushton)Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue
Libby TaplinAvon Fire & Rescue Service
Lilia GibratNorthamptonshire Emergency Services Cadets
Louisa RogerAvon Fire & Rescue Service
Louise ConnellWest Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Louise Wheeler, Claire Dorley, Elaine Brooks, Michelle Stewart, Olivia GilbeyOH&W Clinicians
Lucy EvansWest Midlands Fire Service
Lynne ElliottNorth Yorkshire Fire and  Rescue Service
Mareena Anderson-ThorneDevon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
Mark TaylorCambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service
Michelle HickmottStaffordshire Fire & Rescue Service
Natalia LewandowskaOxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Niamh DarcyMerseyside Fire & Rescue Service
Nicole SmyEssex County Fire and Rescue Service
Nikki WilsonNorth Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service Wellbeing Team led by Karen RowleyNorfolk Fire and Rescue Service
Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service Women’s NetworkNottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
Paul GroomHampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service
People and organisational development teamMid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Rachel MoonanGreater Manchester Combined Authority
Rachel StreetingWarwickshire Fire and Rescue Service
Rebecca HodgkinsWest Midlands Fire Service
Rebecca Openshaw-Rowe and Georgina GilbertMid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service
Rebecca SimsDerbyshire Fire & Rescue Service
Rhonda JonesScottish Fire and Rescue Service
Sally HammondSuffolk Fire and Rescue Service
Shannan CoxWest Midlands Fire Service
Shelley RobinsonLondon Fire Brigade
Siobhan PriestLondon Fire Brigade
Sophie GreenWest Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Sophie PotterHereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service
Stapleford Fire StationNottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service
Suffolk Women in Fire TogetherSuffolk Fire and Rescue Service
The Positive Improvement TeamLondon Fire Brigade
Vicky CoeNorth Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Wayne BrownWest Midlands Fire Service

The Women in the Fire Service Awards 2024 would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors and supporters. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who contributed to making this years awards a success, and we look forward to presenting awards to our winners in June.

For more information about the Women in the Fire Service and future events, please visit www.wfs.org.uk or email contact@wfs.org.uk.


Women in the Fire Service UK is a volunteer-led, not-for-profit organisation which exists to advance equality, addressing gender imbalance in the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS). Women are vastly underrepresented in firefighting. Government figures (2023) show just 8.7% of firefighters in England are women.

WFS Celebrate Success as “Team of the Year”

In a momentous achievement, Women in the Fire Service (WFS) proudly won the esteemed “Team of the Year” title at the 9th Excellence in Fire and Emergency Awards. Not only this, but WFS received a nomination for “Training Provider of the Year”. This recognition was a testament to the collective dedication and hard work of the entire WFS community.

WFS Team of the Year Award

The awards ceremony, held on 1st December at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, served as the prefect setting to honour excellence within the fire and emergency services sector. WFS, represented across various categories, showcased the breadth of its impact. Regional Representative Caz Whiteman (South Yorkshire FRS) was nominated for Most Influential LGBTQ+ Individual, while Local Representative Jo Dawson (Nottinghamshire FRS) was a nominee for Most Influential Woman of the Year.

The celebration continued as WFS proudly sponsored the Youth Champion Award, which was awarded to Coral Jobson from Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service.

One of WFS’s Directors, Kath Billing (Chief Fire Officer at Cornwall FRS), received the esteemed title of Most influential Woman of the Year, which we are incredibly proud of. She is a inspirational role model for young women and a perfect example of ‘if you can see it, you can be it’

The awards ceremony was attended by WFS staff and representatives, who were ecstatic to hear the announcement of their win. The occasion was summed up by Administration Manager Karen Smith, who celebrated her 20 year anniversary working for WFS this year. Karen expressed how honoured she felt attending the awards and characterised the day as a wonderful celebration. She said, “I didn’t expect us to win, especially in such a tough category. We are collecting this award on behalf of everyone involved in WFS across the country – we couldn’t do it without your support.”

WFS Staff at the awards ceremony

The recognition at the Excellence in Fire and Emergency Awards not only highlights WFS’s achievements but also serves as an inspiration for continued dedication to promoting diversity, excellence, and empowerment within the fire service community. As WFS continues to make strides in its mission, this accolade stands as a testament to the organisation’s commitment to fostering positive change.