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TWO popular members of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) have become proud medal holders after the announcement of the Queen's Birthday Honours.
Watch Manager Nigel Travis had been awarded a British Empire Medal along with retired staff member Cath Palmer who left GMFRS in 2011.
Over the years Nigel and Cath have dedicated countless hours of their own time to help others in and around Greater Manchester, touching thousands of hearts and enriching the lives of many.
Nigel, who works at Moss Side Community Fire Station, has volunteered more than 1,800 hours since 2008 running an inner-city boxing club that has raised the aspirations of many young people in the area.
Watch Manager Nigel Travis
Along with two other firefighters Nigel transformed a disused garage at the station in Moss Side, founding the boxing club on the principles shared by boxers and firefighters – discipline, respect and courage. Since that time he has helped many young people, including 16-year-old Connor Tudsbury who last year won a Class A belt in the under-65kg category at the National Association of Girls and Boys Club Championship.
Connor Tidsbury with Nigel Travis
Taking about being awarded his BEM, Nigel said: “I am so proud of receiving the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and I’m accepting the honour on behalf of our gym and all its members.
“I thank my beautiful wife, Suzy, and daughters, Niamh and Sadie, for allowing me the time to dedicate to others at their own expense. I simply couldn’t do it without their support and it is those three who really deserve this honour.
“Also, thanks go to friends for all the support over the years and all the coaches and helpers at the gym – there are too many to mention but you know who you are. Thanks too to GMFRS who made the whole thing possible.”
Cath Palmer spent 38 years working with GMFRS after starting her career in 1973 as a control operator. She took 999 calls until 1998 when she took charge of administering the benevolent fund, which later became The Fire Fighters Charity.
Cath Palmer with Alan Knell from The Fire Fighters Charity and Heather Butler
Despite retiring from the fire service Cath’s support for The Fire Fighters Charity continues, with her raising money at station open day across Greater Manchester – spending almost all of her weekends running a charity stall.
Cath also supports the annual 999 Day which takes place in August at intu Trafford Centre, where she helped to raise more than £2,500 last year.
On receiving her award, Cath said: “I am proud and honoured to be awarded the medal and want to thank my husband, Patrick, for his help and support. Also thanks to Heather Butler, who supports me at all the charity events, and previous colleagues including David Alletson.
“We have another busy year ahead of us with the upcoming station open days and 999 Day on August 3, raising further funds for The Fire Fighters Charity supporting those who work for fire and rescue services up and down the country, along with their family members.”
The pair will collect their medals from the Lord Lieutenant in the near future and will be invited to Buckingham Palace for a garden party.GMFRS County Fire Officer and Chief Executive Peter O’Reilly said: “On behalf of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service I would like to congratulate Nigel and Cath on their honour, it is well and truly deserved.
“Nigel has helped change the lives of so many young people in Moss Side over the years and is an inspiration to others following in his footsteps, and Cath has shown continuous support and dedication to the Service for decades in her roles here and also in retirement.
“Both Nigel and Cath should be proud of their achievement in being awarded a British Empire Medal, and I’m sure they will continue to help many others who they come into contact with in the years ahead.”