Receiving a medal is ‘magic’ for dedicated firefighter

Lord-Lieutenant Susan Pyper congratulates Shoreham firefighter Matt Wainwright on his long service award
Lord-Lieutenant Susan Pyper congratulates Shoreham firefighter Matt Wainwright on his long service award

Shoreham firefighter Matt Wainwright is proud to have received a medal after more than 20 years of dedication to the service.

Born and bred in the town, he joined West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service in 1996 as a retained firefighter at Shoreham Fire Station.

Matt with his long-term girlfriend Louise

Matt with his long-term girlfriend Louise

Matt said: “I joined full-time in 1998, originally based at Worthing. In 2015, I moved to Shoreham Fire Station, where I am currently stationed.

“I still live in Shoreham with my long-term girlfriend Louise and our children.”

He was presented with his 20-year medal for good conduct and exemplary service by the Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex, Mrs Susan Pyper, at a ceremony at Arundel Castle.

Gavin Watts, chief fire officer and director operations, thanked all the award winners for their dedication and commitment to the service and their communities.

He said: “This event celebrates the very best of this county and recognises diligence, commitment and bravery. It is an honour to be able to thank everyone on behalf of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.”

Long service and good conduct medals are awarded nationally, on behalf of the Queen, to full-time and retained firefighters who have completed two decades of outstanding service.

Matt said: “I’m the only old one at Shoreham who got the 20 years. It changed a few years back, so now we’re crew in full time during the days Monday to Friday, then it’s retained nights and weekends.

“In my spare time, I am a successful magician and pickpocket of 15 years and am part of the world famous Magic Circle.”

Matt is the resident magician at The Amex Stadium for Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club.

Since he became a magician about 13 years ago, he has dazzled celebrity guests including the late Bruce Forsyth, singer Tony Hadley, model Nicola McLean and athlete Darren Campbell.

He performs a unique blend of close-up magic and pickpocketing. Using sleight of hand, he entertains and astounds guests by handing back valuables they did not even realise he had taken.

He was also consulted by crime author Peter James and featured in his book, I Want You Dead, the tenth novel in the award-winning Detective Superintendent Roy Grace series.