Fire chief ‘absolutely thrilled' to get OBE from Charles at Windsor

The head of Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service said he is “absolutely thrilled” to have been honoured at Windsor Castle and spoke of his pride in colleagues who dealt with the aftermath of the Liverpool hospital bomb attack.

Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan was made an OBE by the Prince of Wales for services to fire and rescue during the pandemic.

The top firefighter laughed as he said hoped to celebrate with “copious” amounts of champagne while enjoying a few days off work.

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After receiving his honour on Wednesday, he said: “I’m absolutely thrilled.

“To be presented with the OBE from Prince Charles is an absolute highlight of my career with the fire and rescue service.”

He said the pair discussed his work with the fire and rescue service during the pandemic, as well as work with children and young people through the Prince’s Trust.

He said: “We discussed how life-changing, how transformative it is for young people, and the fact that we’ve got many people who are now employed by the fire and rescue service who started on the Prince’s Trust team programme, and so he was thrilled with that outcome.”

Mr Garrigan recalled being at the Remembrance Day service in Liverpool last month when a bomb exploded outside the city’s Women’s Hospital, and told of his pride at his officers’ response.

“We’ve done a fantastic job alongside our other emergency service responders – very quickly on scene, very effectively dealt with the incident and we’ve managed it effectively since,” he said.

“I’m really proud of the efforts of my firefighters and my service more broadly.”

While urging people to be “vigilant” this festive season, he said he would not want to put anyone off enjoying the holidays.

Asked what message he would give to the public, he said: “Enjoy Christmas but just be vigilant and be self-aware.

“There’s high levels of visibility from our police colleagues across the whole of Merseyside to make sure people have a safe and fulfilling Christmas.

“The emergency services in the Merseyside area are absolutely ready and prepared should there be anything untoward occurring in any part of the city or beyond.”

Of his celebratory afternoon with his wife following the investiture ceremony, he said: “We will be taking a few small sandwiches, some little dainty cakes and hopefully copious amounts of champagne – that’s the plan.”

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