Fire service launches staff exhibition to mark Black History Month

An exhibition that pays homage to, and highlights, the diverse heritage of fire service staff has been unveiled today (Monday 30 September).

The showcase has been organised by South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue as part of Black History Month and celebrates the achievements of staff with African and Caribbean heritage.

It features portrait photographs of 11 employees past and present – ranging from retired firefighters to support staff – that will be exhibited at various locations across Sheffield.

These locations include the Winter Gardens, Moor Market and Sheffield Train Station, with the service hoping the display will inspire the next generation of firefighters.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our staff, and their rich heritage, and wanted to do something special to celebrate their contributions to the service and those we serve,” said Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Alex Johnson.

“We also wanted to show support to the Black History Month initiative and South Yorkshire’s black communities, at the same time as showing that anyone can be anything in the fire service – regardless of their background.

“The exhibition is about recognising staff of the past, and present, and inspiring the next generation of firefighters, as we strive to ensure our workforce fully reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.”

The photos have been taken by Orestes Rix, a member of the service’s finance team who specialises in portrait photography outside of his day job.

They have been printed onto foam boards and will be showcased on easels as they travel round the city. Their first outing will be at a launch event hosted at the Showroom Workstation, on Paternoster Row.

One of the staff members featured is Elm Lane Station Manager, Delroy Galloway, who has helped organise the exhibition as well as being photographed.

He said: “Over the last few years we’ve done some amazing work around supporting underrepresented groups within the fire service, so it’s really good to be able to carry that work on and get behind Black History Month in a meaningful way.

“People with African and Carribean backgrounds are currently underrepresented within the fire service nationally. We aim to change that through projects such as this one, as well as shine a light on some very deserving colleagues.”

The exhibition will visit the following locations, on the following dates:

Ponds Forge: Tuesday 1 – Sunday 6 October
Winter Gardens: Monday 7 – Tuesday 8 October
Moor Market: Wednesday 9 – Wednesday 16 October
Sheffield Train Station: Thursday 17 – Thursday 24 October

You can see the photos below:

Details on each person, and more about this project, can be found in this booklet.

This content was last updated on November 29th, 2019