‘I tell people that the award is for Norfolk’ - fire service worker Claire scoops national honour

Claire Boer won best newcomer in the national fire awards. Photo: Bill Smith Claire Boer won best newcomer in the national fire awards. Photo: Bill Smith

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
6:30 AM

A Fire Fighters Charity national award winner has dedicated her honour to the committed workers at Norfolk’s fire stations.

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Claire Boer won best newcomer in the national fire awards. Photo: Bill SmithClaire Boer won best newcomer in the national fire awards. Photo: Bill Smith

Claire Boer, 39, was named best newcomer of the year at the glittering Spirit of Fire Awards in London this month.

The category was open to people who had recently taken up a role for the charity and had demonstrated “exceptional commitment” as well as “enthusiasm and outstanding dedication”.

Ms Boer was presented with her glass trophy by TV presenter Jacqui Hames at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel.

The Bawdeswell mother-of-three, who works in a back office role at Carrow Fire Station, has helped organise a string of charity events in the county.

She took a key role in last year’s fire service charity ball at Sprowston Manor, raising more than £3,500, and has been a point of contact for countless charity bike rides and other sponsored events.

But when she was nominated by station manager Phil Berry, she did not believe she had a chance of scooping the national award.

“It came as a complete surprise,” she smiled. “I didn’t go into this voluntary work for awards.

“It was to improve what we do for the charity, so it was an absolute shock.

“I tell people that the award is for Norfolk, as the stations out there have done the hard work and got involved.”

Ms Boer has worked for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service for 14 years, but only became involved in the Fire Fighters Charity when she transferred from Fakenham to Carrow Fire Station two years ago.

She said former Carrow station manager Mr Berry, who works for the charity, had inspired her to get involved.

Chief fire officer Nigel Williams said Ms Boer had increased Norfolk’s fundraising efforts by her “dedication to the charity, personal leadership and presence”.

And Ms Boer said she loved her job at the fire service.

“I just feel as if it’s being part of a family,” she said. “Everyone who I’ve worked with has been so lovely and I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else.”

She hailed colleague Sarah Palmer, who helped organise the charity ball, for her help.

And she said the support of husband Tom, 48, and children Ben, 15, and Alfie and Lucy, both aged eight, had been invaluable.

But she is not taking it easy after scooping the award.

A medieval charity ball and an October fright night are set for later this year, and Ms Boer is helping to organise a charity open day at Carrow Fire Station on Sunday, August 24.

Have you got a story about an inspirational person? Email samuel.russell@archant.co.uk

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