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Jim Fitzpatrick 

Jim worked for London Fire Brigade from 1974-1997. Following this he moved into politics becoming the MP for Poplar from 1997-2019, during this time Jim held multiple roles including Fire Minister and Road Safety Minister. Jim became Non-Executive Director of the Fire Protection Association in March 2020 and has been Chair of FIRE AID since 2015.


Sir David Amess MP

Photo of Sir David Amess MPBorn in the East End of London in 1952, Sir David has been a Member of Parliament for 38 years. He stood in the Labour stronghold of Newham North West in 1979, before winning the Basildon seat from Labour in 1983. When his seat was broken up in a boundary review, he was elected to Southend West in 1997.

He was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Edwina Currie, Lord Skelmersdale, and for nine years to Michael Portillo through most of his Ministerial career.
A lifelong animal lover he has campaigned on many animal welfare issues and introduced the Protection Against Cruel Tethering Act for horses, ponies and donkeys.

In 1999 he was successful with a Bill to create a programme of action for home heating and the reduction of fuel poverty, which became the Warm Homes Act 2000. He was a member of the Health Select Committee for ten years.

Sir David is a member of the Speaker’s Panel of Chairs and is Chair of a number of All-Party Groups including Fire Safety and Rescue, Maternity, Liver Health, and Endometriosis.


Steve Apter, Trustee

Steve started his career in 1991 as a retained firefighter with the Isle of Wight Fire Service and climbed the ranks, becoming Chief Fire Officer in 2011. In 2015, following a strategic partnership between the services, Steve was appointed Director of Community Safety and Resilience with Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.  He was seconded into East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service as Deputy Chief Fire Officer in 2015.

In December 2016 he was appointed Deputy Commissioner with London Fire Brigade (LFB), one of the largest Fire and Rescue Services in the world.  Steve led the strategic response of LFB to the Westminster Bridge terror attack and was responsible for the strategic response arrangements and Gold response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Steve has a Master’s degree in Leadership and completed the Executive Leadership programme for strategic leaders in the Fire Service.  In addition, he has been a volunteer with UKRO (and its previous guises) for over 25 years and was Chair in 2010 to 2018. In 2017 UKRO became a registered Charity. Steve was Chair of the World Rescue Organisation from 2013-2015.  He is passionate about international development and advancing professional rescue, and is proud of the role UKRO plays with colleagues from other aid organisations to support the global road safety agenda.

Emma MacLennan, Deputy Chair and Trustee 

Emma is the founder and Director of UK charity Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST). She is also the Alumni Organiser of the Delft University/FIA Foundation Global Road Safety Programme and a member of their Board, having run the FIA Foundation Road Safety Scholarships from 2009-2014. She is a founder member and Deputy Chair of FIRE AID, and President of Make Roads Safe Hellas. Emma is an Advisor to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Moldova in the UK Parliament, and a Special Advisor to the Rt Hon the Lord Robertson of Port Ellen.

From 1999 to January 2008 she was Director of the John Smith Memorial Trust, a good governance programme sponsored by the UK Ministry of Justice and aimed at talented young leaders from the former Soviet Union. Prior to this she was Advisor to the Rt Hon Chris Smith MP (now Lord Smith); to the late, Rt Hon Donald Dewar QC, MP; Policy Officer on Social Security and Taxation for the UK Labour Party working closely with the Rt Hon John Smith QC, MP; a member of the Commission on Social Justice; and Deputy Director of the Low Pay Unit that succeeded in its campaign in the UK for a national, legal minimum wage. She has extensive experience as an expert in donor-funded road safety projects in EASST’s countries of operation.

Alfred Wilson, Trustee

Alfred retired from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service in June 2009 after 30 years service. Throughout his time with the fire service, he served as an Area Commander, however, he held several other roles such as Chair of the Road Safety Partnership and instructor roles in road traffic collision (RTC) and Breathing Apparatus (BA) at Staffordshire Training Centre. He was also an operational officer with a specialism in Hazardous Materials/CBRN incidents and was also the Head of Business, Marketing and Media Departments at Staffordshire fire and rescue service. Alfred also provided voluntary project management for the Institute for Fire Engineers and helped with the organisation of their International Conference and Exhibition in 2005.

Alfred’s passion for international aid began in 1994 when he co-founded Staffordshire Emergency Services Humanitarian Aid Association (SESHAA), where for a long time he was the Chair as well as project managing and leading multiple overseas missions. The first of which was a fact-finding mission to the Volgograd Fire Service in Russia. Following this Alf has led missions to Bosnia, Albania, Malawi, Macedonia, Poland, Uganda, Kenya and Tajikistan where he has provided country reviews, equipment donations and training programmes. Alf was also a founding member of FIRE AID, and an Honorary Member, his international work with FIRE AID partners in Tajikistan has led to over 100 lives being saved. 

Gary Bennett, Treasurer and Trustee 

Gary worked in the fire service as a Station Officer for 12 years with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service before completing his MSc in Fire Engineering and starting his own company in 2004, which now employs over 12 people. Gary is the founder of SERA who started volunteering for one of our FIRE AID members, Blythswood Care in 1998 where he drove vehicles of aid each year on their behalf into Eastern Europe.

Michael Pitney, Trustee 

Michael is a Collaboration Station Manager at Kent Fire and Rescue Service; his role includes building partnerships with the Police and Ambulance service to ensure successful collaborations. Before this Michael served in London Fire Brigade bringing his number of years in service to 22. Michael is involved in multiple charities and has raised thousands of pounds for numerous charities through organising events and encouraging project sponsors. Michael is passionate about supporting fire and rescue services overseas, and has worked with other FIRE AID members to deliver projects in Tajikistan, Moldova and Ukraine.

Michael is particularly passionate about supporting the fire service in Ukraine where he has worked for the last 8 years to deliver training and modern equipment to a fire service, which is vastly underequipped. His work in Ukraine includes the donation of hundred of thousands of pounds worth of second-hand equipment alongside five training programmes including specialised training on RTC and BA. Michael is personally responsible for providing over 200 Ukrainian firefighters with modern personal protective equipment meaning they are now able to carry out their roles safely and professionally.


Claire Hoyland

FIRE AID’s activities are directed and coordinated by Claire Hoyland an employee of UK charity EASST. Claire’s responsibilities at FIRE AID and EASST include the coordination and delivery of a range of projects, activities, and events across Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, helping to improve emergency response and road safety.

Claire joined FIRE AID and EASST in 2018. She graduated with a Business degree from the Open University whilst travelling extensively and working on various international development projects, including a road safety project with the Ugandan Red Cross Society.

Claire joins us from the national food redistribution charity FareShare, where she developed and managed a project that saw retailers directly donating their surplus food to local charities via an app called FoodCloud. Claire has previously worked on projects with Macmillan Cancer, VSO, World Challenge, the BBC and is a First Aider and Emergency Response volunteer for the British Red Cross.

Contact us today to find out how you can be involved in the life-saving work that FIRE AID and our partners are involved in throughout the world.