Nick’s fitting reward for dedication to fire service
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.
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