A former retained firefighter at Peterhead has been nominated for a coveted fire service award.
Three decades of dedicated volunteer work by the now group manager for Prevention and Protection in Aberdeen, Ally Birkett, has been shortlisted in the Supporter of the Year category at the annual Firefighters’ Charity’s Spirit of Fire Awards.
Ally, who is regional co-ordinator for the Firefighters’ Charity in Scotland, has been a passionate, dedicated supporter of the charity for the past 30 years and his commitment has been rewarded with a nomination.
The Spirit of Fire Awards is the most renowned event in the fire and rescue services’ calendar, recognising acts of selfless sacrifice within the fire and rescue community and dedication to the Charity.
Along with members of the fire service - firefighters, fire personnel, stations and brigades – these awards also honour members of the general public who have shown outstanding courage when confronted with a distressing fire or rescue situation.
Ally joined the former Grampian Fire and Rescue Service on July 4, 1983 as a retained firefighter at Peterhead Station and then moved over to wholetime on May 31, 1990.
He’s been based at North Anderson Drive, Central and Elgin stations in operational roles and also Fire Safety, Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire in managerial roles.
He has worked his way through the volunteer structure from Station Representative to regional co-ordinator via many roles within the previous group structure.
The person who nominated Ally, Firefighters’ Charity’s Judith Scarborough, said: “Throughout his time Ally has never lost his passion or dedication to supporting the charity. It is for his exceptional support over the past year as Regional Co-ordinator that I have nominated him for this award.
“Under Ally’s leadership Scotland has continued to deliver in terms of fundraising despite significant upheaval within the region with the move from eight fire and rescue services to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
“Last year the region raised the most of any in the UK, overtaking the north-west. Rather than allow the significant changes in Scotland to hinder fundraising, Ally has been front and centre in seizing the opportunities resulting from the single service.”
Ally was praised for his “considered and calm voice,” which helped guide staff and volunteers through the transition.
He also re-shaped the entire volunteer structure in Scotland to suit the best interests of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the charity.
Ally commented: “I’m really surprised and feel very honoured to be shortlisted. I didn’t know I had been nominated. It’s very overwhelming considering there are so many deserving people of this award throughout the service. We have an amazing team supporting the charity in Scotland.”
SFRS Assistant Chief Officer and Director of Service Delivery for the North, Robert Scott, who is also on the Firefighters’ Charity’s Board of Trustees, said: “I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of one of our officers has been recognised with this nomination.”