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Devon fire specialist called to Buckingham Palace

By mwill  |  Posted: February 23, 2013

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Colin Rockey, head of Special Operations Team for Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, will travel to Buckingham Palace next month to receive the Queens Fire Service Medal. Colin is based at the Service's headquarters outside Exeter and will be at the awards ceremony on 26 March.

He joined the Fire Service in September 1983 and started at the headquarters in 2003, setting up the Urban Search & Rescue Team. He is planning to retire after the awards ceremony.

He says of his time with the Fire Service "I've enjoyed every minute of my career and I remember my training officer at Plympton on the first morning in his welcoming speech said 'Gentlemen you will never ever have the Monday morning feeling following a career in the Fire Service.'  How right he was!"

Commenting on his future beyond the Fire Service, he said "After receiving the award, I will be retiring. I will miss the service, but it's time for new pastures. Everyone asks me if I'll be bored, and the answer is 'no'. I plan to enjoy myself. I have lots of outside interests, my wife and I walk a lot and many friends I've worked with have retired so we'll be walking with them and enjoying a few pub lunches.  I'll have time to enjoy the grand children and travel for several months at a time visiting family all over the world."

He continued "I'm very humbled to have received the Queens Fire Service Award, people have asked me if I knew I was being nominated and I didn't. A letter arrived to my home and for once in my career I was totally speechless… for quite a time. The first thing the wife said was 'I need a new outfit'."

Lee Howell, Chief Fire Officer, said: "I am delighted that Group Manager Colin Rockey has been awarded a Queens Fire Service Medal in this year's New Year's Honours list. Colin has worked tirelessly to develop special operations into a world class facility and the capability he and his team provide are respected nationally. His award recognises the valuable contribution he made to a 'safe and secure' 2012 Olympic Games, specifically at the sailing events in Dorset."

The Queen's Fire Service Medal is awarded to members of the fire services in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth for distinguished service or gallantry. It was introduced in 1954, when it replaced the King's Fire Service Medal.

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