Two pillars of the community in Horncastle have received prestigious awards from the High Sheriff of Lincolnshire.
PCSO Nigel Wass and Alan Maskell, Watch Manager at Horncastle Fire Station, attended the ceremony in Lincoln Castle last week.
The awards are given annually to individuals or groups who have made a significant contribution to the well being of a community in Lincolnshire.
PCSO Wass was nominated by Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones while Mr Maskell was nominated by Chief Fire Officer Nick Borrill.
Both men said they were ‘proud and honoured’.
However, it emerged Mr Maskell almost missed the ‘big day.’
He told the News: “I’d been on annual leave and the letter about the award and where to go had been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks.
“Fortunately, I went back to work a couple of days before (the awards) so everything worked out.
“I’m not one for the limelight but it was an honour and it was fantastic two people from Horncastle there.
“I’ve dedicated mine to the rest of the team at Horncastle Fire Station. They’re a great bunch and what we do is a team effort.”
Mr Maskell has served as an on-call retained firefighter in Horncastle for over 40 years.
Working locally as a painter and decorator, he joined the fire service in 1976.
Having mastered the basic firefighting skills, he was soon responding to emergencies, demonstrating a passion and commitment which he has maintained.
He was appointed Watch Manager in 1990. He is always willing to go the extra mile, and his involvement with running local fetes and community events has typified his dedication to the fire service.
Away from ‘the job’, he spends as much time as possible with his grandchildren. He also enjoys walking Mac, his chocolate Labrador.
High Sheriff Andrew Clark said: “Whether he is responding to fires, road traffic collisions or medical emergencies, Alan has undoubtedly made a significant difference to the wellbeing of his local community.
“To do this for over 40 years is an achievement in itself; to do so with the same energy and fervour as the day he joined is remarkable and well worthy of recognition.”
PCSO Wass has served in the role in Horncastle since 2010 and before that was a ‘special’ constable.
His citation highlighted how he constantly goes ‘above and beyond to ensure residents (and in particular older and more vulnerable people) are listened to, are safe from crime and feel part of the community.
He has been instrumental in instigating the newly formed ‘Bus Beat’ initiative across the Wolds which has been so successful that it is now county-wide.
The scheme allows local residents to meet their neighbourhood PCSO weekly, giving them an opportunity to raise issues and concerns.
On numerous occasions, ‘Bus Beat’ has helped stop residents being ‘conned’ out of thousands of pounds and also led to important feedback on crimes.
PCSO Wass has built relationships with a number of key agencies and charities.
He regularly delivers scam awareness events and also launched the ‘Copper and Curate’ patrols which identified a real need to help lonely residents in the town, particularly at Christmas.
PCSO Wass is a familiar face on the beat in Horncastle and surrounding villages.
He regularly attends schools and is part of the Neighbourhood Police Team that delivers powerful anti-crime and anti-drug messages to pupils.
PCSO Wass said: “I was very surprised to be nominated but very proud and very honoured to receive the award.
“I was great to see Alan win because he does so much for the community. Usually, we only see each other at incidents.”
It was quite a week for PCSO Wass who is a life-long Lincoln City fan and was at Wembley for their Checkatrade Trophy final victory against Shrewsbury.