Latest News Uniformed Hero nomination – Andy Buttery and Alf Wilson

Uniformed Hero nomination – Andy Buttery and Alf Wilson

18 June 2024

Uniformed Hero nomination – Andy Buttery and Alf Wilson

From delivering aid to countries affected by natural disasters to restoring vintage fire engines, retired firefighters Andy Buttery and Alf Wilson still work tirelessly to support their former colleagues and the wider community.

Both men completed more than 30 years of public service with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service and continue to play a significant role despite their retirement, including running a network for other retired firefighters.

They have been jointly nominated in the Uniformed Hero category of the Your Heroes Awards by Chief Fire Officer Rob Barber KFSM.

He said: “These two individuals conduct a considerable amount of voluntary work in support of others and exemplify the core characteristics of emergency services workers. As such I believe that they need to be recognised.”

Andy Buttery served Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service from September 1975 until his retirement in August 2010.

He runs the retired members network which provides support, advice and guidance to retired members of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service. He writes a newsletter which goes out to all retired members and provides up to date information to his network. This is vital to many members as they get older.

Andy set up a living well group to provide wellbeing support to veterans. The group has gone from strength to strength and meets regularly at fire stations around the county providing information and support on subjects such as financial support, lasting power of attorney, healthy eating and dealing with grief.

Andy and colleagues have established and registered a charity to raise funds to restore vintage fire appliances to make them available to local communities and to educate the next generation of firefighters.

During the pandemic he volunteered his time to support the service in the delivery of the vaccination programme.

Rob Barber said: “Andrew is the epitome of the fire and rescue service values and is a valuable member of the team even though he retired a number of years ago. The value that he adds to our service is immense.”

Alf Wilson has dedicated most of his adult life to the service of others. He started his career with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service in April 1979 and completed 30 years of service.

Once retired he continued to support others and remained the chair of the SESHAA, a group that has worked all over the world providing humanitarian aid and support to countries affected by conflict or natural disaster. He has coordinated trips and been tenacious in gathering equipment and supplies to deliver to countries.

Alf was a Founder Member and Chair of SESHAA from 1995 to 2018. He then handed over the Chair and took on the role of project manager/advisor. He has now been doing humanitarian aid work internationally since his first visit to Russia in March 1993. Between 2012 to 2014 SESHAA was in Bangladesh supplying vehicles and equipment to Kenya. 2015 saw SESHAA become founding members of FIREAID, a new organisation in the fire and rescue service community. In 2015 SESHAA was involved in a project in Tajikistan. He undertook a joint scoping visit in March 2015, with FIREAID members, to look at assistance and support for the Fire and Rescue Service, Health Service and Police. He was part of a FIREAID team that delivered a £40,000 donation of medical and firefighting equipment. The visit also involved a fact-finding expedition into the Khorog region of the Pamir Mountains, where he and the team looked at the need for a 4×4 rescue vehicle and Mountain, RTC and Mud rescue equipment. The equipment was delivered in a convoy from the  UK to Tajikistan, some 4,261 miles.

Alf recently assisted in the setting up of a living well group. The group meets regularly and provides support and comfort to those that have been finding life difficult, again volunteering in his own time to support others. He is always at the centre of organising speakers and outside support.

He has also supported Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service in many ways as a volunteer and assisted throughout the pandemic despite going through some very difficult personal issues at the time.

Rob Barber said: “Alf has delivered such great outcomes within some really hostile environments and has done this for so many years, putting the needs of others above his own.”

Andy Buttery said: “I was very surprised to be nominated for a Your Heroes Award. It came as a bit of a shock. It’s a great honour to be recognised by the Chief Fire Officer.”

Alf Wilson was on an overseas mission at the time of the nomination and said that he was both surprised and delighted.