Wholetime community firefighters join crews across West Sussex

The 11 new firefighters were officially welcomed at the Pass Out Parade
The 11 new firefighters were officially welcomed at the Pass Out Parade
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West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has officially welcomed 11 new firefighters.

The Pass Out Parade was attended by proud family members, friends and future colleagues.

Joe Barkley was presented with a silver axe for outstanding performance and each recruit received a certificate to mark the successful completion of the gruelling, 14-week, residential training course.

The recruits learned core ladder and hose skills, technical and water rescue, and breathing apparatus training. They also completed South East Coast Ambulance’s Immediate Emergency Care Responder course.

As is tradition, the recruits also completed an impressive fire engine pull for charity, hauling the 12-tonne truck around a fourmile course in Ford, raising more than £700 for The Fire Fighters Charity.

At the end of December, the recruits joined their new crew mates on stations across West Sussex, starting the development phase of their careers as community firefighters.

Chief fire officer Gavin Watts said: “I’ve come to have high expectations of our service’s Pass Out Parades over the last couple of years and I can honestly say that this ceremony went above and beyond.

“It is clear to see our new recruits have been provided with the best skills and knowledge available. They now head to their respective home stations ready to respond to emergencies, to provide education and safety awareness and to protect vulnerable people in their own homes.

“A huge thank you must go to our brilliant team of instructors and staff who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make not just this Pass Out Parade, but also the full training course, such a success.

“We welcome this talented set of recruits into the WSFRS family with open arms, we are lucky to call each and every one of them our own.”

New recruits

Alex Aylen from Bognor Regis was formerly a manager at Tesco. He will be based in Chichester.

Joe Barkley from Haywards Heath used to work in the hospitality management industry. He will initially work temporarily at Crawley.

Joseph Cullum from West Wittering is no stranger to the fire service, having been a fire cadet in his youth and served as a retained firefighter for the last two years. He will initially serving temporarily at Horsham.

James Drake from Horsham previously worked for the ambulance service and has been a retained firefighter since 2010. He will be stationed at East Grinstead.

Mark Figg from Chichester has been a retained firefighter in the city for the last seven years. He will be working at Shoreham Fire Station, having previously worked in the fire service research and development department.

Daniella Hodge from Selsey used to work as a bar manager before deciding to pursue a career as a firefighter. She will be based at Chichester.

Bianca Kelly-Marques from Haywards Heath has worked as a retained firefighter since 2015, alongside her previous job as a beauty and make-up professional. She will be based at Burgess Hill.

Jack Magee from Chichester is a mixed martial arts fighter who runs his own academy. He will initially work temporarily at Worthing.

Victoria Mayne from Goring will also be temporarily based at Worthing. She previously worked in the NHS rapid response team.

Steve Robinson from Upper Beeding has been a retained firefighter since 2016. He runs a kickboxing school and competes in motocross. He will be joining the crew at Burgess Hill.

Ashley Taylor from Chichester is following in his father’s footsteps by becoming a firefighter. He will be based at Littlehampton Fire Station, having previously worked as a chef in a Michelin-starred restaurant.