Fireman Geoff gets top award from the Queen in honours list

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A former watch manager at Long Buckby Fire Station has been given a British Empire Medal for services to the community in the village.

Geoffrey Spokes, from Long Buckby, received the award as part of the Queen’s New Year Honours List next year.

As well as acting as watch manager at Long Bucky Fire station before he retired from the service this year, Mr Spokes is also vice chairman of Long Buckby Parish Council and has been a long standing magistrate for Northamptonshire.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled and have many people to thank for this, especially my family and my wife Susan who have put up with me missing time with them because of work. I will now be putting that right.

“The support from my colleagues has also been tremendous so I am really accepting this award on their behalf as well. I would also like to thank them for the wonderful retirement party they threw for me this month.

“Being part of Long Buckby means everything to me as my grandfather gave his whole life to serving it’s community.

“I will always be a Long Buckby lad and I am so proud of everything it stands for.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would win an award like this and I know my parents would have been extremely proud of me meeting the Queen – especially my father who shared her birthday.

“My wife opened the letter telling me I had got the award, it was a lovely surprise.”

He believes the co-responder scheme which was pioneered at the station at Long Buckby was part of the reason for the award.

Mr Spokes added: “When you call 999 asking for an ambulance one will be dispatched, but if the ambulance is coming from far away and it is an incident which happened in the village, then we will also get sent out as well so the patient gets emergency care faster.”

Chief fire officer for Northamptonshire, Martyn Emberson, said: “This is a well deserved award and we are absolutely delighted for Geoffrey.

“He is the epitome of community spirit and has put so much into it over the past 40 years. Geoffrey has been at the centre of the fire service’s expansion over the last years and the improvements we have made, particularly in our work with the ambulance services.

“His family has been involved with the fire service for generations: his grandfather, father, and now his son as well. Everything he does is at the heart of the community.”

Joan Tice from Teeton was given an OBE for her charitable services through the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation.

Sally Ann Smith from Nether Heyford received an MBE for political service.