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London firefighter becomes a sports personality

Pictured, from left to right: Peter Cowland from the Worshipful Company of Firefighters, Chair of the FSSAA Andy Fry, Firefighter Janine Culley and Deputy Commissioner of London Fire Brigade Roy Bishop
Firefighter Janine Culley with her trophy, donated by The Worshipful Company of Firefighters
London Fire Brigade officer won for record medal haul

Firefighter Janine Culley has been named the Fire Service Sports and Athletics Association (FSSAA) sports personality of the year.

Janine becomes only the second woman to win this prestigious award and she is also the first in the award's history to be presented with a trophy which has been donated by The Worshipful Company of Firefighters.

The Chair of the FSSAA, Andy Fry, presented Janine with the award for her record 24 medal haul at last year's World Firefighter Games held in Liverpool. The former swimming coach won the majority of her medals in the pool in what was a homecoming performance by the Liverpudlian.

Janine joined the London Fire Brigade in 2002 and wants to be a role model for women thinking about becoming a firefighter. She said; "I am very honoured to become ‘sports personality' and I hope that this will reinforce that being a firefighter isn't only a job for men - women are fit enough and strong enough too."

The Chelsea firefighter is also a mum to a two-year-old girl and benefits from having a great work life balance. Janine added; "This achievement highlights that it is possible to be a mother, have a fulfilling career and maintain an excellent level of fitness. Being a firefighter allows me to do all of these things. I love my job, which not everyone can say."

She is now trying to gain sponsorship for her next challenge of swimming across the channel. Janine said; "It has been a long time ambition of mine to swim the channel."

The Fire Service Sports and Athletics Association (FSSAA) encourages all forms of sport and athletics, both indoor and outdoor, for the benefit of serving and retired members of the Fire & Rescue Service of the United Kingdom. Chair Andy Fry said; "I am delighted to have appointed Janine as the Association's Sports Personality of the Year. She is a great example of what can be achieved by carefully balancing professional and family commitments whilst, at the same time, remaining dedicated to achieving sporting excellence.

"Janine's energy and enthusiasm are infectious and I'm really looking forward to supporting her as an ambassador for sport in the fire service. Amongst other things I'd like Janine to champion a challenge that the Association will be issuing to find the healthiest fire station in the UK."

Deputy Commissioner Roy Bishop, who also attended the presentation, said: "I would like to congratulate Janine and also the London Fire Brigade's welfare fund who supported London's staff that participated in the World Firefighter."

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