Two firefighters to get top gongs in Queen's New Year Honours

Two firefighters to get top gongs in Queen's New Year Honours

Legends Andy Bowers and Kevin Taylor will receive the Queen’s Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service

Two fire service legends are to be recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Andy Bowers has reshaped the industry, driving up national standards and being behind many key projects that have put Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service on the map.

Meanwhile Firefighter Kevin Taylor – or Jasper as he is known – has raised more than £100,000 for charities as well as launching community events that are now fixtures in the Portsmouth social calendar.

The pair, who have both attended thousands of incidents, will each receive the Queen’s Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service.

Dad-of-three Andy, 55, from Gosport, is the national lead for the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) on command and control and is a key figure in shaping industry policy and best practice.

He also has a master’s degree in Business from the University of Portsmouth and later gained a further master’s degree in Crisis and Disaster Management.

Andy was awarded the Security Institute’s prestigious Wilf Knight Award in 2014 in recognition of a unique piece of research and is currently studying for his PhD in Risk Management.

Among his proudest achievements is the creation of the Scan, Attack, Ventilate, Enter and Extinguish (SAVE) approach which protects firefighters while ensuring a blaze is tackled as effectively as possible.

He was also a driving force behind the service’s world-class training facilities through the Academy and has championed the learning culture of the service.

He has supported countless charity events including being heavily involved with the fundraising campaigns of autistic schoolboy, and honorary firefighter, Andrew Impey.

Andy said: 

“I have been proud and privileged to serve with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service for more than 30 years. To receive an accolade like this is humbling.”

Kevin, a Portchester firefighter, won a trio of gongs at last year’s Celebrating Success event - including the coveted Chairman’s Award.

He has helped to raise huge sums for a variety of charities with open days, car washes, concerts, parties, quizzes, race nights, cycle rides, fitness challenges and supermarket bag packing.

However, he is perhaps most well known for his pensioners Christmas parties which started off in a small room at Southsea Fire Station but moved to the South Parade Pier and then eventually to the Portsmouth Guildhall as its popularity grew. Last year more than 360 attended.

His list of previous accolades include the Portsmouth City Council’s civic award in 2006 and being named one of the country’s happiest people in the Independent on Sunday’s Top 100 Happy List 2013.

Kevin, 61, said: 

“To even be thought of in relation to this award is an honour. 

“I am over the moon but it is not just for me it is for the people who help and support these events.

“I get so much support from my fellow firefighters. This award is a reflection of the work they do and that of the service as a whole.”

Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin said: 

“It is heartening to see these awards going to two such inspirational figures who extol the finest traditions of the service.

“They have both gone the extra mile every day to make life better for the people of Hampshire and their fellow firefighters.”

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority Chairman Chris Carter said: 

“I am continually amazed at the quality of people the service attracts and to see these two role models get recognised at the highest level is truly heartening.

 “These are two people who not only save lives but improve them for the people they serve – they are both legends of the fire sector and institutions within Hampshire.” 

Andy Bowers
Andy Bowers
Kevin Taylor
Kevin Taylor