Firefighter receives medal from the Queen for 20 years of service

Mark Nevill

Mark Nevill - Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service

A watch manager from Leaden Roding Fire Station has received a medal on behalf of the Queen for his 20 years of service. 

Mark Nevill has been honoured during a special awards ceremony held online by the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service. 

Mark joined Essex County Fire and Rescue Service in 1999 as an on-call firefighter at Leaden Roding Fire Station. It was after a chance conversation with a former crew member from the fire station in the local pub which led to him to apply.  

Over the years Mark has attended many different types of incidents and has helped save countless lives. His most memorable incidents include a large fire involving an impressive private collection of classic and vintage racing cars with significant financial and historical value. This was Mark’s first shout after his promotion to watch manager, and although no one was injured, seeing the destruction the fire made on the cars was hard to witness.  

Mark also dealt with house fire directly opposite the fire station in Leaden Roding that caught fire early one morning in December 2003, where the first witness didn’t call 999 when they saw the smoke as they said: “The fire service must know, they are right opposite”! Thankfully a call was later made and the firefighters responded to deal with the fire.  

Mark also finds time to raise money for charity and completed the Three Peaks Challenge in 2006 with a team made up of firefighters from local fire stations. He said his time ‘wasn’t astounding’ but the team pulled together and was well within the 24-hour limit.  

Talking about what the awards ceremony meant to him, Mark thanked his wife Debbie, daughter Alex and son Christopher, who have suffered many interrupted family occasions over the last 20 years and have put up with his absences without complaint.   

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He also thanked his colleagues at Leaden Roding Fire Station and the fire service, who have shared the good and not so good times with him and made his career to date an enjoyable and rewarding one.    

Being an on-call firefighter means that Mark responds to emergencies from his home day or night. Mark’s primary employment is with an IT company where he writes and maintains computer software applications that are used in the NHS.  

Mark said: “I would not have been able to be an on-call firefighter for the last 20 years if it wasn’t for my employer. They have been kind enough to allow me to respond to fire calls while at work.   

“I have been fortunate that my job involves working from home which is close to the fire station. It means that whenever we get an emergency call, I can leave my work and get to the fire station without hesitation.” 

Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive Jo Turton said: “These awards are one of the highlights of my year.  

“This is the first year we have hosted the Long Service awards online, but nothing was going to stop us celebrating the achievements of employees - especially during a year in which so many have gone above and beyond their role to help keep our communities safe.   

"I am so incredibly proud of the achievements of all of our colleagues who have completed such exemplary service to our communities. Hearing about their individual journeys and what they have achieved throughout their career is truly inspiring.”   

Lord Lieutenant of Essex Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst, said: “I am really delighted to be able to recognise the long service and good conduct of the 26 members of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.   

“It is a very important moment to say thank you for the wonderful work they do, and to note the great contribution they have made during the pandemic as ambulance drivers, training non-emergency ambulance drivers, helping set up hospitals and vaccination centres, and delivering food and medicine to vulnerable residents.   

“Their service to the county has been immense.”