Former Wooler firefighter receives high honour from RAF - this is why
A former Wooler firefighter has received a special commendation from the RAF.
Jack McWilliams served as a retained firefighter with Northumberland Fire and Rescue for five years before joining the RAF's fire section at Lossiemouth in Moray, Scotland.
The 29-year-old, who now lives in Cramlington, has received an Air Officer Commanding of One Group commendation from the RAF.
And Jack says his award was purely due to the skills and knowledge he learned with the fire services.
He said: "The skills I have in identifying the risk of fires, people at risk of fires and planning to prevent fires is simply due to being a retained firefighter at Wooler.”
Only a handful of these awards are given out each year and are listed on the New Year honours list.
Jack said:” I got this award for instigating and managing a large scale RAF 100 event called The Cheviot Bomber Trail for Emergency Services.
“This basically means we raised funds to fully restore the Cheviot Memorial which was built to commemorate 38 allied airmen who lost their lives in separate aircraft crashes on the Cheviot Hills.
“I had to carry out risk assessments and spot potential risks of fire and danger - I could only do this because of my retained training.”
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service chief fire officer Paul Hedley said: “Jack was a really popular and valued member of the on-call service at Wooler when he was a part of Northumberland FRS.
“I’m very pleased that he used the skills he gained during his time with us to such good effect.
“On behalf of the service I’d like to extend my warmest congratulations to Jack on the presentation of the commendation award, and having personally visited the Cheviot Memorial I’m delighted that he has been recognised for his role in supporting the restoration of such an iconic Northumberland landmark.”
Jack flew out to the Falkland Islands last week for duties with the RAF. He is due to return shortly before Christmas.
To find out more about becoming a firefighter in Northumberland, visit www.northumberland.gov.uk/Fire/Recruitment.aspx