News & Media

Les Sharp's 55 years at Wandin

  • From left to right: District 13 Operations Officer Don Tomkins (presented the awards), Les Sharp (55 years of service), Don Bigham (53 years of Service)

By: Duncan Russell

Category: Honours & Awards

  9.26 AM 29 October, 2014

Location: District 13 News

Views: 1869

On Saturday 4 October, Wandin Fire Brigade held their Annual Dinner at Wild Cattle Creek Winery Restaurant to present awards and have a great time.

By Peter Anliker

The last in line to receive regular service awards was an impeccably dressed and smiling Les Sharp. He does not need much introduction, his name speaks for itself and we call him ‘the old man’ of Wandin Fire Brigade with respect. Les was congratulated and awarded for 55 years of committed service to his Brigade, CFA and the wider community.

His service record is amazing for those of us who were not even born yet, when Les signed up with Wandin in 1959. He was their Apparatus Officer from 1965 to 1969 and 1st Lieutenant from 1969 to 1980. For a period of five years Les transferred to the shores of Leongatha Fire Brigade, but returned to Wandin in 1985, when the Brigade elected him Captain for the next 20 years until 2005. Les also covered the role of Group Officer from 1991 to 1999 for the old Killara Group, then was their Group Secretary from 1999 to 2001.

As an already accomplished Firefighter and Brigade Officer, Les undertook the formal qualification regime in quick succession from 1999 to 2007 as Wildfire Low Structure Firefighter, Crew leader and Strike team Leader Wildfire. And Les keeps his competencies up to date.

Today, he is the Strike Team Coordinator of the Yarra Valley Group of Fire Brigades, Group Delegate for his Wandin Fire Brigade and on the Executive Committee of the Country Fire Authority Road Rescue Association. And whenever a man is needed at the Fire Station these days, and no job is too small or too big, Les is possibly the one able and willing to attend to it.

Les’s commitment is also reflected in all the awards that were bestowed upon him over the years. Up to this day he is the only Wandin Brigade Member to have been nominated by the Brigade for CFA Life Membership. His ongoing commitment to the Brigade and CFA over many years and a high level of recognition for his work from within and outside of the Brigade are unquestioned. On top of all his service awards from 12 to 55 years service, Les had already received the prestigious National Medal in 1993 and the National Emergency Medal in 2013 for his Black Saturday contribution in 2009.

When being presented with his 55 years award, Les received a standing ovation from Brigade mates, attending officials and guests.  And as we know him, never shy for some good banter, he acknowledged the honours received in true style. With Les, age has no boundaries, as far as CFA is concerned. Congratulations Les.

Other awards presented on the night:

5 year CFA Certificate: Elizabeth Hewitt, Jacquie Lowrie, Dale Ross (absent were Stephen Scabellone, Robert Gibson)

10 year CFA Service Medal: Ryan Haley, Penelope Harris, Dan Lowrie, Ben Watts

20 year CFA Service Medal: Merv Hearne

30 year CFA Service Medal:  Mick Dillema

Brigade Life Membership: Andrew Webber

Firefighter of the Year: Dale Ross

Wandin Fire Brigade in general took an innovative approach to their Annual Dinner. Awards were presented to those with special achievements as well, acknowledging special skills like getting their vehicle bogged, to name but one.

The younger members displayed how much fun they have together with the presentation of a professional quality Gangnam style picture/sound film production, check it out:  And for those who liked a dance, Gangnam style or not, the stage was set.

Last Updated: 29 October 2014