By Kelly Wickham
In a Sussex first, the two High Sheriffs of East and West Sussex held a joint thanksgiving celebration paying tribute to the two counties’ emergency services.
Last Thursday (February 20) more than 400 emergency services staff came together for the joint ‘Blue Light Service’ at Lancing College Chapel.
The unique event was organised by Davina Irwin-Clark, High Sheriff of West Sussex, and Violet Hancock, High Sheriff of East Sussex, and attended by the Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, Mr Peter Field,and Vice Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Mr Harry Goring.
The service was held at the chapel by kind permission of the head master and the governors of Lancing College.
The event gave thanks to all emergency services and associated volunteer organisations which keep Sussex residents safe.
Mrs Irwin-Clark said: “I am proud to be hosting this service with my East Sussex counterpart to celebrate our emergency services.
“The men and women of our emergency services are there for us when we need them most. Our counties are indebted to them for their courage and their sacrifice. It is absolutely right that we should honour their incredible service in this very special way.”
The order of service included readings and an address from the Rev Paul Collins, previously a Met officer, now Minister of Immanuel Church, Chichester.
The heads of the emergency services – including Sussex Police chief constable Giles York, the chief fire officers of West and East Sussex, Sabrina Cohen-Hatton and Dawn Whittaker, South East
Coast Ambulance Service operating unit manager for Brighton, Tim Fellows, county president of St John Ambulance, Mrs Caroline Lucas, and RNLI Eastbourne, coxswain Mark Sawyer – also shared reflections of the work carried out by their services.