Video: New firefighters join West Sussex service

A dozen new Wholetime Community Firefighters from across West Sussex were welcomed to the service at a pass out parade.

The celebration at Horley Fire Station gave the new firefighters the opportunity to showcase their new skills to their family and friends, as well as the senior management team from the service and county councillors.

The group have completed a 14-week intensive training course conducted at Horley Fire Station’s in-house training centre.

The new firefighters are:

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Tim Batchelor, Littlehampton. Prior to this course Tim balanced his full time job as a housing officer with his retained firefighter role.

Shaun Beales, Horsham. Shaun has been an operator at our mobilising centre for 10 years and a retained firefighter for 14 years.

Scott Cairncross, Burgess Hill, balanced being a retained firefighter for eight years with running a double glazing company.

Martyn Chate from Littlehampton balanced being a retained Crew Manager with running his own sandwich and pie company before undertaking this next step in his Fire and Rescue Service career.

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Ric Copeland, East Preston. Ric also has retained firefighter experience and has recently been promoted to Crew Manager.

Tom Williams, Bognor Regis. Prior to the course Tom worked as a ground operations assistant at Goodwood aerodrome as well as his duties as a retained firefighter.

Alex Wooding from Shoreham has already put in hours of operational cover over the last four years.

Chris Denton, Littlehampton. Chris already has experience within the emergency services from his time with South Central Ambulance.

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Kerrie Lewis, Bognor Regis. Kerrie has previously worked as a Duty Manager and Lifeguard Trainer and Assessor in the leisure industry.

Jordan O’Hara, East Preston. Prior to joining the Fire and Rescue Service, Jordan used to run her own personal training and boot camp business.

Satpal Nagi from Felpham used to work in the health and fitness industry helping people with weight management and developing skills as a soft tissue and corrective exercise therapist.

Gary Simmonds, Horsham. Gary first applied to join the Fire and Rescue Service when he was 19 and now 13 years on he has achieved his goal.

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During the course, they embarked on a combination of practical and theoretical training to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to ensure they are able to serve and protect the residents of West Sussex.

The 12 firefighters are now qualified to commence their work at their allocated fire stations.

Gavin Watts, Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex, said: “We’ve been lucky enough to see this group’s strong work ethic and sheer determination throughout their training journey.

“I wish each and every one of them a long and successful career within our Fire and Rescue Service.”

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Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Stronger, Safer Communities, said: “This is such a proud day for the new firefighters and for their families and friends. I am so delighted to welcome them to the fire service family. You have chosen a very special career. I wish you all the best!”

The new recruits recently undertook a charity challenge which involved cutting up a whole car in less than an hour into small enough pieces to fit through a tractor tyre. Their efforts raised £820 for The Fire Fighters Charity and Together for Tyler, a local campaign run by Spirit FM.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is currently recruiting for new Wholetime Community Firefighters until 30 May and is also looking to recruit on-call crews. To find out more about being a firefighter in West Sussex visit

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