Comedian Russell Howard presented Joe Bowers from South Yorkshire with the award for Youth of Courage at the Spirit of Fire Awards 2015.
Hosted by The Fire Fighters Charity, and presented by BBC newsreader Nicholas Owen, the Spirit of Fire Awards honour members of the fire community and members of the public by recognising acts of astonishing courage and bravery, as well as dedication to The Fire Fighters Charity.
Preceded by a Downing Street reception for nominees, hosted by Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the high profile event took place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel and was attended by a host of celebrities and VIP guests from across the fire and rescue service.
Joe was rescued from a house fire back in 2001, when he was just 18 months old, he suffered life changing burns and spent months recovering in hospital. Overcoming everything from facial reconstruction to muscle transplants with admirable strength and incredible determination, Joe was adopted by Phil and Tracy Bowers. Phil is now a volunteer with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, helping prevent fires like the one which changed Joe’s life forever. A sweet and loving young man, Joe – now 16 years old – warms the hearts of everyone he meets. Joe was awarded as Youth of Courage winner due to the bravery and determination he demonstrated when times were tough.
Commenting on the achievements recognised at The Spirit of Fire 2015, Greg Clark said: “I’ve been inspired by the accounts of self-sacrifice and dedication that the winners and nominees of this year’s Spirit of Fire awards have shown, both at individual incidents and in their support for the Fire Fighters Charity. This charity provides world-class support and treatment for serving and retired firefighters, as well as their families, and it is in recognition of this that we continue to support its work. I would like to congratulate all those involved in the awards, and to thank them for all their hard work and commitment.”
The Spirit of Fire Awards were supported by headline sponsor Infographics UK Ltd., the developer of FireWatch and FloSuite software for the Fire and Rescue Service.
The runners-up for the Youth of Courage Award 2015 also all received a special Spirit of Fire Bravery Award at the prestigious ceremony. They were:
- Chloe McGann, West Midlands
- James Aspden, Lancashire
- Lauren Cosgrove, Scotland
Other presenters on the evening included actors Niamh McGrady, Bhasker Patel, and John Partridge, sports presenter Diana Binks, TV gardener David Domoney and Great British Bake Off contestant Mat Riley.