(left to right): Angus Rollinson, Ian Morrison and Ian Crosbie
Creswick Fire Brigade held its annual awards dinner over the weekend, with Chief Officer Jason Heffernan in attendance to acknowledge a number of members being awarded with service awards, life membership awards and national medals.
Special presentations were also made in honour of the late former Captain, Mark ‘Spence’ Spenceley.
Mark was a volunteer firefighter for 37 years, from 1982 until his tragic passing in early 2019. He was also a CFA staff member, employed as an Instructor with West Region Learning and Development, for almost 20 years.
He held various roles with Creswick Fire Brigade including Captain for 10 years from 1999 to 2009, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria Delegate and Group Delegate for Creswick Group of Fire Brigades. At the time of his passing, Mark held the rank of 2nd Lieutenant with the brigade.
In December 2021, Creswick Fire Brigade ‘Tanker 1’ was named in Mark’s honour. Captain Steve Ellis said at the time, “Spence never missed a fire call, and it will be great to have Spence with us in sprit at our fire calls in the future.”
Along with his National Medal second clasp, Chief Officer Heffernan presented a recognition of service certificate and plaque on behalf of CFA to Mark’s wife Kerrie, son Tynan and daughters Erin and Gemma.
In recognition of long and dedicated service to the Creswick Fire Brigade, brigade member Neville Cartledge also presented Mark’s brigade life membership to the Spenceley family.
Tynan Spenceley said these presentations made the family so proud of their dad, Mark.
“These acknowledgements given by both the brigade and CFA means a lot.” Tynan said.
“It blows me away to see how respected he was. We just can’t fathom how well regarded he was by the community. It’s just amazing, it really means a lot to our family.”
Tynan said the family can’t thank the brigade enough for the support given to his family over the last couple of years.
“The support didn’t stop in the weeks and months that followed; everyone continues to support us.
“It’s great to see brigade is in good hands and being steered into the future.”
The Spenceley family weren’t the only recipients of a presentation in Mark’s honour. The brigade he dedicated 37 years to were next to receive a significant presentation on the night.
CFA West Region Instructor and Leading Firefighter Ian ‘Croz’ Crosbie presented Creswick Fire Brigade with a timber shield, on behalf of Mark’s CFA West Region colleagues and mates.
“Mark’s passing left a massive void in our small workgroup that will be never filled; however, his memory continues to shine as bright as ever,” Ian said.
“Spence was a great mate, mentor, role model and confidante. But he was so much more. He was a leader, a pillar of the community, a brigade stalwart and a devoted husband, father, and grandfather.
“After the tragic event which took Mark from us, we felt compelled to promote his memory in a tangible and perpetual way.”
What they settled on, was a shield they could present to the brigade, as a perpetual reminder of the commitment, dedication and service that Mark had provided in his 20-year career with CFA and his substantial volunteer contribution.
Ian said the shield has been designed in such a way that attempts to capture the essence and qualities of Mark, to perhaps recognise and inspire others to emulate his legacy.
“The shield is based on a slab of Californian redwood, lovingly prepared, machined, and lacquered by another mate and colleague of Mark’s, Ian ‘Sparky” Morrison.”
Whether by accident or design, this choice of timber is significant as it is native to the northern hemisphere, but is known to thrive elsewhere, including Australia.
“Much like Spence, who was born in Britain, but certainly thrived when he came to Australia, the timber is highly prized for its durability, versality, strength and beauty,” Ian said.
The central adornment on the shield is a CFA cap badge, signifying the deep love and esteem that Mark held for the organisation, and in the shape of an eight-pointed fire service star, it points out the characteristics and attributes of a good firefighter.
Below this, a ribbon bar has been placed to represent the awards and accolades Mark received.
The bar contains a CFA long service award, a CFA life membership award, a ribbon representing the Volunteer Fire Brigade Victorian Gold Star and the final accolade represented is Mark’s Australian National Medal for service. This is complete with two clasps, signifying a minimum 35 years sustained and diligent service in an emergency service, not only in his home state, but in the wider Commonwealth.
Below the ribbon bar is a representation of Mark’s name badge, of which they had two to choose from.
Ian said they settled on ‘Mark Spenceley – Creswick Fire Brigade’ because that was always foremost in his mind, and where his heart laid.
“Finally, we attempted to capture and inspire others by adding a plaque, stating the shield’s purpose - For Commitment, Dedication and Service,” Ian said.
“This shield reflects strongly, the enormity of Mark ‘Spence’ Spenceleys dedication and his lasting legacy to CFA, Creswick Fire Brigade, and the wider community.”
Images courtesy of Blair Dellemijn - Uniform Photography.
- Neville Cartledge with Kerrie Spenceley
- Tynan and Kerrie Spenceley with Chief Officer Jason Heffernan
- Ian Crosbie
- Ian Crosbie and 1st Lt. Geoffrey Hepworth
- (left to right): Ian Crosbie, Angus Rollinson and Ian Morrison with Kerrie, Erin, Gemma and Tynan Spenceley