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Emergency Services come together for Beacon of Hope Awards

Emergency services in Derbyshire are coming together to celebrate employees who have won a Beacon of Hope award to recognise their exceptional work during the coronavirus pandemic.

The awards look to identify and thank groups or individuals who have worked tirelessly to keep communities safe and businesses operating during the crisis.

Nominations were open to the public earlier this year and Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service are celebrating several winners.

Richard Brunt, the Head of Joint Strategic Assets for both services, has received a Derbyshire Beacon of Hope Award in recognition of his pivotal role in the county’s vaccination roll-out and for his work to make sure both organisations have a COVID-secure workplace.

Chaplains who support both services have also been recognised for their work to encourage and bring hope to officers, firefighters and staff in times of bereavement or personal crisis in what has been a particularly challenging 18 months.

Safety and Risk Advisor Mick Harlow and Watch Manager Stephen Eaton each received a Beacon of Hope Award in recognition of their work during the height of the pandemic to support the NHS, dentist surgeries, nurses at a special needs school and other organisations by providing specialist safety advice and carrying out over 332 face fit tests. Vital face fit tests ensured staff had respiratory protective equipment fitted correctly, thereby safeguarding them against airborne covid transmission during their work.

Chief Constable Rachel Swann said: “Richard and our chaplains are very worthy winners of the Beacon of Hope award and I am pleased that their hard work has been recognised in this way.

“Richard took a pivotal role in the logistics of the planning, preparation, and delivery of vaccinations against COVID-19 for the people of Derbyshire.

“He has also worked hard to ensure the joint police and fire estate is COVID-secure, allowing employees to work for the people of Derbyshire in safety and ensuring continuity of our services to keep our communities safe.

“The police and fire chaplains have found new ways of working during the pandemic to ensure they can still support officers, firefighters and staff. In a particularly challenging period, they have offered practical, emotional and spiritual support when emergency service workers have needed it most.”

Derbyshire’s Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Rob Taylor said: “It is a pleasure to see employees and Chaplains from both the fire and rescue service and police being honoured for their work throughout the pandemic.

“Everyone had a part to play in supporting the community response to Covid19, using their specialist skills to do what was needed at a time of local and national crisis. Richard Brunt was able to use specialist logistical and planning experience to oversee vaccination centres, the Chaplains were able to adapt to the restrictions and challenges presented by the pandemic and still deliver an effective and supportive service to emergency service employees, and Mick and Stephen were able to use their skills and experience usually associated with ensuring the safety of firefighters breathing apparatus to train and offer advice on the fitting of covid secure respiratory masks.

“The Beacon of Hope Awards presented to each of the recipients are truly deserved and underline both the fire and rescue services and constabularies joint vision of Making Derbyshire Safer Together.  Well done to all receiving an award.”