NEW YEAR’S HONOURS: Retired Northamptonshire firefighter receives British Empire Medal

A Northamptonshire man has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community, after working at his local fire station for more than 40 years.

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

As well as acting as watch manager at Long Buckby fire station before he retired from the service this year, the 62-year-old is also vice chairman of Long Buckby Parish Council and was a longstanding Magistrate in Daventry.

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 ward 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.”

Still living at his home right opposite the fire station, Mr Spokes enjoys spending his free time shooting and game-keeping.

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.”