Posted: Wednesday 12 April 2023, 09:00
Shreya Sayal, a Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service (DFRS) Cadet from Ascot Drive unit, has been named joint winner of the Young Person Role Model Award by the Women in the Fire Service (WFS) Awards 2023.
DFRS Cadet Eloise Gadsby, who is based at the Ilkeston unit, has also scooped a runner-up award in the same category and will join Shreya at the awards ceremony later this year.
Speaking on notification of her award, proud winner Shreya said: “I am delighted to have been named as Young Person Role Model 2023 by Women in the Fire Service UK.
“I was initially surprised to be nominated by my cadet leader at DFRS and I never thought I would win. Now I have won, I will continue to act in a manner which will hopefully motivate and inspire future young people. I am proud to be considered as a role model to others.”
Since joining Derbyshire Fire Cadets in 2021, Shreya has continually challenged stereotypes and demonstrated that girls from ethnic minority backgrounds can become firefighters.
She has also taken on additional levels of responsibility, including Chair of the DFRS Youth Council in which she challenged, evidenced and raised the issue of ‘hidden’ racist behaviour and language which had manifested in private cadet only social media messages.
Those individuals were then dealt with, sending a clear message about the values and ethics of the Service. This simply could not have happened without Shreya's strength and principles in standing up against actions contrary to DFRS's ethos.
Gavin Tomlinson, Chief Fire Officer / Chief Executive at DFRS said: “This is a huge achievement for Shreya and on behalf of everyone at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, I would like to congratulate her on winning this award.
“All the young people who join the Service through our Cadet Scheme learn about our core values and ethics as part of the program and those who sit on the Youth Council are also given the opportunity to create their own code of ethics so they can be held to a higher standard than the rest.
“In challenging actions that went against these values and ethics, Shreya demonstrated outstanding commitment to not only the Service, but the community, and her peers as well. I have no doubt she will continue to achieve great things both personally and as a positive role model in her community.”
The Women in the Fire Service awards recognises individuals and organisations that have made outstanding contributions.
There were a total of 68 nominations for this year’s awards across five categories – Bright Light Award, Dany Cotton Inspiring Leader Award, Exceptional Allies Award, Firefighter Rising Star Award, and Young Person Role Model Award.
In the Young Person Role Model Category, runner-up Eloise stood out to the judges in the Young Person Role Model category for her positive attitude and willingness to represent Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service at every opportunity.
Throughout her time as a cadet, she has sat as member of the Youth Council and recently attained a rarely awarded RYA Watch leader award during a sailing experience as part of DFRS Youth Week.
Furthermore, Eloise has been recognised with a National Fire Chiefs Council Chairs Award and a DFRS Chiefs commendation for her actions after a road traffic collision (RTC) occurred her house last year.
Eloise demonstrated quick thinking, confidence and bravery in dealing with his collision, assessing the casualties and performing any first aid required before the Officer in Charge arrived.
Speaking on notification of her award, Eloise said: “I'm honoured and grateful for this award, and thankful for this opportunity.”
CFO Tomlinson added: “I am extremely pleased to hear that Eloise has been named runner-up of the Young Person Role Model Award.
“Eloise’s commitment and dedication to DFRS is remarkable. Whilst outside of the cadet environment, she was faced with an RTC which she dealt with in a professional manner. She remained calm and diligent in the face of adversity, representing the true values and ethics of DFRS.
“On behalf of everyone within the Service, I would like to congratulate Eloise on this award and wish her every success in her future endeavours.”
Joolz Earley, Community Volunteer and Cadet Leader for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, is the joint winner of the Young Person Role Model Award alongside Shreya.
Pictured left is Shreya Sayal and right is Eloise Gadsby.