A SELFLESS Warrington man has been recognised as Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Volunteer of the Year.

The Success, Talent, Achievement and Recognition Awards recognise and honour those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for CFRS.

Following his retirement from the Air Training Corps, John Walkey, was recruited to the Fire Cadets to start the Duke of Edinburgh award programme.

For many years he was the only D of E qualified instructor, and he later trained to be an assessor which enabled the award scheme to be delivered in its entirety in-house - allowing the service to become an accredited awarding authority.

John has always been passionate about the D of E scheme but this year he has really gone that extra mile. In his own time he has proof-walked four days of hiking routes for the cadets in North Wales. This would involve him driving to one end of a route, walking it to make sure it was safe, and then cycling back to his car, four times.

He gives up many weekends and evenings to assist cadet units with their award admin and training, and walks the routes with cadets, giving them instruction and guidance.

By the end of August he had dedicated significant amounts of his own time supervising the expeditions. Alongside all this, he maintains the tent and equipment for the award participants, which is a considerable task in itself.

Speaking after he received his award from chief fire officer Mark Cashin and the chair of Cheshire Fire Authority cllr Bob Rudd, John said: "I am extremely honoured and feel very humble to have received such a prestigious award. I am genuinely grateful for the recognition I have received for my work as an instructor with the Cheshire Fire Cadets delivering the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

“I am just one member of a very enthusiastic and dedicated team at Widnes who like me are extremely passionate about helping our young people along the path to a productive and prosperous future.”

Around 100 people attended the ceremony, hosted by ITV's Lucy Meacock, at the Village Hotel.

Chief fire officer and chief executive Mark Cashin said: “It gives me immense pride to see the dedication and hard work our staff show each and every day to help keep the public of Cheshire safe.

“Congratulations to the winners, nominees and everyone who has been involved with this year’s STAR awards, they are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the inspirational work which goes on across the service.

“After hearing the winners’ stories I feel extremely humbled and proud to be the chief fire officer and to represent an organisation which provides an exceptional level of service to the communities we serve.”