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Six members of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service were invited to Downing Street after being shortlisted for one of the most prestigious awards within the fire service industry.
David Cameron was unable to host the reception due to his visit to Cumbria and those affected by the shootings in the west of the county, but in his place Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities, and Bob Neill, the Fire Minister were there to greet all those who had been shortlisted for the awards.
But despite not picking up any of the three awards they were shortlisted for Cumbria's Chief Fire Officer, Dominic Harrison, was delighted with his teams' visit to London.
He said: “I am immensely proud of the work that members of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) do for the charity and their communities, and although we didn’t pick up one of the top prizes it was a fantastic achievement to be down to last four in three categories – a first for Cumbria.”
Mr Pickles and Mr Neill spoke at length to members of the service praising them, not only for the charity work they do, but the professionalism shown by all from Cumbria who have been involved with some very difficult situations including the floods, the Keswick school bus crash, and west Cumbria shootings on Wednesday.
At Friday evening's ceremony, held at Wembley Stadium, the Cumbria contingent wore heart shaped badges promoting tourism in Cumbria and the host, BBC News' Nicholas Owen, also wore a badge while he praised the members of the service for the tremendous work they do for the charity and for the community, especially recently.
The three nominees were Cockermouth Fire Station, for Station of the Year, John Wall from Workington Locality for Charity Supporter of the Year and the service was shortlisted for Brigade of the Year.
Although CFRS didn’t pick up any of the top prizes but members of the Service had the opportunity to meet some of the celebrities at the event including Esther Rantzen, Ken Livingstone, Simon Weston, Charley Boorman and Jenny Powell. However it was Bruce Forsyth who was full of praise for Cumbria and the work we do here and he said he was proud to be associated with those dedicated to their community.
The Spirit of Fire Awards is the most prominent event in the fire service calendar, recognising bravery within the fire community and dedication to The Fire Fighters Charity.