Nick’s fit­ting re­ward for ded­i­ca­tion to fire ser­vice

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Nuts & Bolts - By Vicky Cas­tle

A for­mer fire­fighter from Pluck­ley has re­ceived an award for his vol­un­teer work with Kent Fire and Res­cue Ser­vice (KFRS).

Nick Pack­ham, 43, was nom­i­nated by staff and fel­low vol­un­teers for his ded­i­ca­tion to the ser­vice and was pre­sented with the KFRS Vol­un­teer of the Year 2015 award.

Nick served as a lead­ing fire­fighter at Mar­den fire sta­tion for 12 years, be­fore sus­tain­ing life-chang­ing in­juries in a crash.

But since 2013, he has ded­i­cated his time to the fire ser­vice’s vol­un­teer scheme.

He gives com­mu­nity talks to older peo­ple, in­clud­ing Age UK Day Cen­tres and the Ac­tive Re­tire­ment As­so­ci­a­tion.

He has also de­liv­ered De­men­tia Friends ses­sions to crews across the coun­try and even worked with Brownie groups to help them achieve their fire safety badges.

Karen Grieves, fel­low vol­un­teer, said: “Nick is an in­spi­ra­tion to us all and we are very for­tu­nate to have him as part of the team.

“His award

i s very well de­served. Nick i s hugely re­spected by both staff and vol­un­teers alike, and car­ries out his vol­un­teer du­ties with great pas­sion and un­der­stand­ing.”

Nick was paral­ysed in a dev­as­tat­ing car crash in Cran­brook in 2002, seem­ingly bring­ing his ca­reer as a fire­fighter to an end.

Trag­i­cally, his friend An­drew Cruick­shank died in the acci- dent and Nick was left with per­ma­nent spinal in­juries.

He was air­lifted to Stoke Man­dev­ille where he spent a month in in­ten­sive care be­fore be­ing trans­ferred to a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion unit.

It was there he met fu­ture wife Julie, a nurse who helped treat him, and they mar­ried six years later.

Since the crash he has worked on a num­ber of high pro­file road safety projects and is now tak­ing part in one aimed at se­nior driv­ers with fel­low vol­un­teer Chris Heal.

Nick will also be in­volved with the fire ser­vice’s new road safety education cen­tre, the Road Safety Ex­pe­ri­ence, later this year.

KFRS vol­un­teer Nick Pack­ham with as­sis­tant di­rec­tor Martin Adams

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