Top national honour for Lincolnshire firefighter
A Lincolnshire firefighter will receive one of the nation’s highest honours at Buckingham Palace.
Neil Fritzsche, from Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, is one of only six people being presented with the Queen's Fire Service Medal in recognition of distinguished service, on October 19.
Mr Fritzsche was named in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee birthday honours list earlier this year.
He said: "I feel extremely privileged to be receiving the medal.
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"I have enjoyed my 38 years in Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, serving local people and helping overseas in the International Search and Rescue team has made me and my family very proud.
"I have been privileged to work with some fantastic people and in some first-class teams.
"Thank you, Lincolnshire, for giving me this opportunity.”
The 55-year-old was also recognised in the first ever BBC 999 Awards in August this year.
He started his career as a firefighter in 1975 and has risen the ranks to become an area manager, responsible for 38 stations, 48 fire engines and an area of Lincolnshire covering 5,921 square kilometres.
In 1990, Mr Fritzsche helped form the UK’s first search and rescue team and has continued to help develop its capability and reputation.
He has also overseen the development of Lincolnshire’s Urban Search and Rescue team, which is recognised as one of the country’s best.
In 2011, he commanded the international response to the devastating tsunami that hit Japan. He led the search and rescue team in the face of aftershocks, extreme cold weather and the risk of nuclear radiation from crippled power stations.
Dave Ramscar, chief fire officer for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said: “This honour rightly recognises Neil’s distinguished career and the significant contribution he has made to creating not only a high performing Fire and Rescue Service for Lincolnshire but also a world-renowned rescue organisation in the UK International Search and Rescue team.”
Mr Fritzsche will be taking his wife Christine, mother Eileen, and his mother-in-law Christine along as guests, when he receives his medal in London.