Retired County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service firefighter Harold ‘Harry’ Binyon has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Spirit of Fire award at a virtual ceremony held by The Fire Fighters Charity and introduced by His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge.
Winning the Lifetime Achievement award at the Charity’s virtual awards ceremony, Harry was recognised for his 40 years of support to The Fire Fighters Charity. Having had a hand in raising over £200,000 for the Charity through countless events and activities, Harry has been at the heart of the Service’s fundraising and awareness-raising activities for decades, even after retiring from the Service himself in 2004.
Harry’s award was announced on the night by renowned theatre, TV and film actor Michael Sheen OBE.
His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge introduced The Fire Fighters Charity’s virtual Spirit of Fire Awards via a recorded video message.
Opening the ceremony The Duke spoke of the challenges faced by fire service personnel in the wake of Covid-19, reiterating why it’s so important that they know where to turn when they need support themselves.
The Duke also announced the first award of the evening – the Special Recognition Award for Excellence in The Field of Mental Health – recognising the achievements of winner Shilla Patel, Inclusion Manager at London Fire Brigade.
A further 13 awards were announced by a host of famous faces over the course of the evening, including: Brian May CBE, Jason Watkins, Dame Julie Walters DBE, Simon Day, Reverend Kate Bottley, Dame Katherine Grainger DBE, Adam, Hills, Clare Balding OBE, Les Ferdinand MBE, Susanna Reid, Maddie Moate and Greg Foot.
The Spirit of Fire Awards recognise the fundraising and awareness-raising achievements of members of the UK’s fire services community in their support of The Fire Fighters Charity, as well as the courage of the Charity’s beneficiaries in the face of personal adversity.
Usually held in London, with a reception at No.10 Downing Street, the coronavirus pandemic meant that the Charity took the awards ceremony online in 2020 for the first time.
The Fire Fighters Charity Chief Executive, Dr. Jill Tolfrey, said of Harry’s award: “The Lifetime Achievement award is our highest honour at Spirit of Fire and I am delighted that Harry has been recognised for all that he has done over the last 40 years. Not only has he helped to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds, but he has been a fantastic ambassador for us and helped many of his colleagues over the years to access support when they have needed it. Well done Harry, and thank you.”