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Prestigious award for retired fire officer 25 April 2007

RETIRED fire officer Mike Ventre, of Onchan, received the top national award recently at the Spirit of Fire Annual Award ceremony organised by the Fire Services National Benevolent Fund (FSNBF).

The event, which was held at Homerton College, Cambridge, recognises achievement in the Fire Services and dedication to the work of the FSNBF. It was attended by many famous names from the worlds of media, celebrity and politics.

Ten awards were made during the evening recognising a broad range of achievements, the most prestigious being the Lifetime Achievement Award for services to the fire community being awarded to Michael Ventre, who was unaware that he had been nominated.

The presentation was made by veteran broadcaster Michael Aspel who said:

‘It was a privilege to meet a man like the Lifetime Achievement winner, Mike Ventre, and I was humbled to be associated with such a heroic group of people. The FSNBF organised a great evening and it was a true celebration of the Fire Services.’

Mike was accompanied on the evening by his daughter Maria, Chief Fire Officer Brian Draper and Deputy Chief Bruce Kirkham who had all managed to conceal the true nature of the evening from him, so that the award came as a complete surprise.

Following military service, Mike Ventre had a long and meritorious career in the fire service on the Isle of Man from 1956 to 1982, rising to the rank of Assistant Divisional Officer. In retirement he has devoted himself to the work of the FSNBF and the welfare of the many retired firefighters and their dependents.

Chief Fire Officer Brian Draper said,

‘Mike is generally regarded as being the grandfather of the fire service on the Island. He made a significant contribution to the development of the fire service during his long career and continues to make a worthwhile contribution to the welfare of our retired members. This award is justly deserved and we are all thrilled that his effort and achievements have received national recognition.’

The Fire Services National Benevolent Fund a national charity which provides care and rehabilitation for injured firefighters and support to widows and orphans.

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