Midhurst firefighters are honoured for their service

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Two Midhurst firefighters have been recognised for their long service and dedication at an awards evening held at Arundel Castle.

Watch manager Nigel Gamblen received a prestigious Meritorious Service Medal awarded for 40 years of dedicated service and Lee Newman was awarded a long service and good conduct medal.

They were presented by Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex Susan Pyper as part of awards made nationally on behalf of the Queen, to wholetime and retained firefighters who have completed two decades of outstanding service to their community.

The ceremony was opened by acting executive director for communities and public protection and Chief Fire Officer Lee Neale, who thanked the firefighters for their dedication and commitment to the service and their local communities.

He also paid tribute to the firefighters’ families for their invaluable and long standing support.

Nigel joined the fire service as a retained firefighter in 1974 at Midhurst when crews used wooden ladders, wore plastic leggings and cork helmets and carried axes in their belts.

When he joined at the age of 18 in December 1974 he served alongside his father Dennis, who was a Leading Firefighter. He progressed through the ranks to become a Leading Firefighter in 1978, one of the youngest in the county and then Sub Officer.

In 1987 Nigel was promoted to Station Officer, then in 2004 he became a Wholetime Watch Manager.

Lee Newman, who received a long service and good conduct medal, was working for the Cowdray estate as a plumber when he was approached by a recently retired station officer from Midhurst who suggested he go and see Nigel Gamblen.

That meeting was the start of a career of more than 20 years with the fire service, which he has manages alongside his work now, as a self-employed plumber.

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