Shropshire’s former Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Steve Worrall, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s 2018 Birthday Honours List, with the award given for humanitarian services in Eastern Europe.
Before retiring in 2013, Mr Worrall established a successful staff exchange programme that enabled more than 100 Shropshire firefighters to gain experiences from secondments to fire services across Europe.
A decade ago, the programme took on an humanitarian aid focus, with volunteer local firefighters delivering and donating more than 50 fire engines and thousands of firefighting uniforms to Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.
Upon retirement his passion for helping not only Eastern European fire services, but more importantly, both the young and elderly alike in some of the most remote and vulnerable communities in Romania, led to the creation of the Shrewsbury based charity – Operation Sabre.
As president of Operation Sabre, Mr Worrall and his team have been responsible for providing vehicles, equipment, uniform and training of volunteer Romanian firefighters while supporting and redecorating several Romanian orphanages and homes for the elderly and special needs.
Operation Sabre has been recognised by the Romanian Government as being the principal international benefactor of fire and rescue aid to Romania.
Mr Worrall, who lives with his wife Karen on the outskirts of Shrewsbury, attended the Grange School Shrewsbury and originally trained and qualified as an engineer at the town’s Rolls-Royce Motors before a distinguished 30 year career with Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.
His endeavourers to improve fire services in Eastern Europe have also been recognised by the Bulgarian Government, which awarded him in 2013 the nation’s highest honour for a foreign national – the Order of Honour and Merit, and by the Romanian Government, who awarded him the Medal of Merit in 2015.
In accepting the British Empire Medal, Mr Worrall stated that he was surprised and extremely humbled by the nomination, adding that in receiving the award, he accepted it on behalf of the many volunteers and supporters of Operation Sabre.
For more information please visit: www.shropshirefire.gov.uk
Top image: Former Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service Steve Worrall, who received the BEM in the Queen’s Honours.