On-call firefighter awarded Townsperson of the Year
An on-call Epping firefighter who has given more than three decades of service to the town has been presented with Epping Town Council's Townsperson of the Year award.
Martyn Simmons joined Essex County Fire and Rescue Service in June 1983, aged 27, while working at the Bank of England in London.
He later changed career to become a qualified tree surgeon and gardening consultant. With his career change he was able to provide more cover for the fire service.
Over the years he has attended numerous incidents, including house fires, the massive blaze which tore through shops and businesses in Epping High Street in 1990 and a major fire at a hangar on North Weald Airfield in 1996.
He was also among the crews called to the Leeds United football team air crash at Stansted in 1998 and the Korean Air crash at Great Hallingbury, near the airport, in 1999.
Mr Simmons was promoted to Leading Firefighter in 2002 and has qualified in various Essex County Fire and Rescue Service courses.
He has been awarded the Fire Service Long Service and Good Conduct Medal along with the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Epping Mayor councillor Tony Church said: "With over 34 years of service, Mr Simmons deserves to be recognised for his commitment to the Epping community which unless you notice his callout pager on his belt, would be just another person passing you by.
Mr Simmons, who received his award at the council's civic reception on Friday, was nominated by Epping Fire Watch Manager Derek Whitbread and Freeman of the Town and retired Epping firefighter John Batchelor.
Watch Manager Whitbread said: "As an officer at Epping, he continues to make himself available for the crew most night times and weekends where his role means he has to stay within the confines of the local area.
"In some cases he has built his business so that many of his customers are local which then enables him to dedicate more time to the service.
"I feel Martyn is a credit to the team at Epping, the service as a whole and the local community.
"He has an exemplary record with the service and continues to support community initiatives and fundraising events organised on behalf of the fire service.
"To me, Martyn is what the Epping Citizen of the Year award is all about - dedication, loyalty and community service."
Words and pictures credit: everythingeppingforest.co.uk
Image caption: Townsperson of the Year Martyn Simmons with Freeman of Epping and retired firefighter John Batchelor (left) and Epping Fire Station Watch Manager Derek Whitbread who both nominated Mr Simmons for the award