Jimmy’s delight at receiving a prestigious Royal honour

Jimmy Gair, who received an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.
Jimmy Gair, who received an MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

A Morpeth firefighter has been recognised for his tireless community work.

Watch manager Jimmy Gair, who combines his role as a retained firefighter with a full-time job as a butcher in Longframlington, was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

He is the longest serving watch manager within the Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), with a level of commitment to be admired. His distinguished career with the organisation so far has lasted more than three decades.

Alongside his day job, Mr Gair often provides over 120 standby hours per week to enable him to respond to emergency situations.

Speaking about his honour, he said: “I must admit to being a little surprised when I heard I was being awarded an MBE, but it is a great honour.

“It does keep me busy juggling my day job as a butcher and my role in the fire service, but I really appreciate being able to do my bit for the community, not just in Morpeth but throughout Northumberland.”

Mr Gair also plays a key role in operating and training others in one of the fire service’s newest pieces of equipment.

Following major flooding in his home town of Morpeth in 2012, NFRS introduced the county’s first specialist Swift Water Rescue Vehicle that he would go on to manage.

He soon qualified as a Swift Water Rescue Technician, which meant he could provide further help to his local community in any future floods, and he regularly uses these skills to train partner agencies.

NFRS chief fire officer Alex Bennett said: “This is a well-deserved honour for Jimmy and everyone in the fire service is proud of his achievements and commitment over many years.

“His management of the introduction of the first Swift Water Rescue Team and his work during the move from Morpeth to the new community fire station in Pegswood are just two examples of his skills in communication, influence and persuasion.

“He has served the community of Morpeth tirelessly as a long-standing and respected retained firefighter and watch manager for 35 years.

“The fact he is able to dedicate so much time to helping others, while working full-time, really is inspirational.”

Among those receiving an OBE was Dr Robert Hardy. He was recognised for services to the pharmaceutical and chemical industry.

The Ponteland resident more than 25 years of experience in pharmaceutical manufacturing, which began when he joined The Boots Company as a development chemist.

He then became a member of its development and production management team and when Boots Pharma was taken over by BASF, Dr Hardy’s role took him to Cramlington, where he became site director.

In 2004, BASF decided to sell the pharma division, including the Cramlington site. Following advice and support from various bodies in the North East, he successfully acquired the site and Aesica Pharmaceuticals Ltd was established.

He became the CEO and board director of the company, which is now the partner of choice to a number of the top ten global pharmaceutical leaders, emerging life science companies and leading generic manufacturers.

Dr Hardy said: “It is a privilege to receive such an honour for my services to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

“The OBE represents a culmination of many years of hard work and dedication, as well as the efforts of the team at Aesica to establish and grow a global pharmaceutical contract development and manufacturing company from right here in the UK.

“We could not have grown the company to the success it is today without the support of organisations such as One NorthEast, NEPIC and Northumberland County Council.”