CFO Chris Lowther awarded Queen’s Fire Service Medal

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer has been awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal (QFSM) for Distinguished Service.

CFO Chris Lowther was named in Her Majesty the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, which recognises those who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to public service. The list is usually published in June, but was postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris began his career as a firefighter at Gateshead Community Fire Station in 1997 and went on to hold a variety of roles within Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service. He has worked in training, operations and community safety, where he was instrumental in introducing home safety checks – which have significantly reduced house fires across Tyne and Wear.

Chris was appointed as Chief Fire Officer in February 2017, taking up the post in April 2017. He also chairs the National Fire Chiefs Council Operations Committee, which aims to promote and lead the highest standards of operational performance in fire and rescue services nationally.

Recently, Chris has campaigned for tougher sentences for attacks on emergency services workers and he works collaboratively with Northumbria Police and other key partners to keep Tyne and Wear safe.

CFO Chris Lowther stands in front of a fire engine

He commented: “It’s a real honour to receive the Queen’s Medal and I’m extremely proud to accept it not just for my own contributions, but in recognition of the hard work and dedication of my colleagues.

We have faced some real challenges over the last 10 years or so, including significant budget cuts and most recently the Covid-19 pandemic, but we’ve risen to those challenges together. The medal is not just for me, it’s for every member of the Service that I couldn’t be more proud to lead.”

Cllr Tony Taylor, Chair of the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority, added: “This honour is a fitting tribute to the commitment and passion that Chris demonstrates every day. Under his leadership, TWFRS has made some significant achievements and key contributions to the fire and rescue sector nationally.

Chris is an inspirational leader because he truly cares. It’s clear to everyone who knows him that his first priority is the safety and welfare of his colleagues and the communities they serve.

Congratulations Chris – very well deserved.”