Gordonstoun School Fire Service wins Queen’s Award

The Gordonstoun Volunteer Fire Service received a prestigious Royal Award for its efforts.

The crew received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – the highest honor a group of local volunteers can receive in the UK and the equivalent of an MBE.

The Morayshire-based independent school, attended by Prince Philip and Prince Charles, is the only school in the UK to have its own fire service.

It consists of students and staff who man the school’s own fire engine and they respond to emergencies as part of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

Each of the volunteers wears a pager and must drop everything when called to attend an incident.

More recently, students participated in a gorse fire extinguishment and mitigation after a fire in an abandoned mill.

High school principal and volunteer firefighter Richard Devey said: “It teaches young people to deal with an emergency calmly and clearly, to be disciplined, to cooperate as part of a team and to face difficult situations with confidence.

“Our school fire department benefits both the students and the community, and many of our youth continue to volunteer their time in service to others throughout their lives. »

The school service was started by students in 1942 to help put out fires during World War II, and has continued ever since.

Gordonstoun Superintendent Lisa Kerr said: “The Gordonstoun Fire Department has been helping the local community for 80 years, putting out hillside fires, farm fires and pumping flood water away from homes.

“Most importantly, by participating in this service, our students learn the value of putting others before themselves.”

Commenting on the award, she added: “There is no better way to nurture a sense of community responsibility than by showing students the difference they can make at a young age and we are honored to having received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.”

The school fire service is one of 244 local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups across the UK to receive the prestigious award this year.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognize the outstanding work of local volunteer groups for the benefit of their communities.

It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on June 2, the anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.

Student volunteer firefighter Fadheela Redpath, who is in her final year at Gordonstoun, said: ‘When I came to Gordonstoun the fire service was the only service I wanted to join because I felt it really gave me the opportunity to serve the local community, not to mention how cool it is to be trained to fight fires at 17.

“I learned to be a team member being in the fire department and I learn to be more assertive, and I had to learn to be stronger.

“In the event of a fire, whispering “Water on!” is unlikely to be very effective.

“I hope I can be a volunteer firefighter when I leave Gordonstoun as I want to continue to be part of the fire service.”

Area Commander Chay Ewing, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Local Senior Officer for Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray, thanked the Gordonstoun crew for their commitment, adding: “It is a pleasure to work with them. .

“We urge people from all walks of life who have different skills and experience to consider joining SFRS and play an important role in your local community.”