Cambridgeshire’s first female firefighter retires after 30 years

12:22 26 March 2014

Janette at work in the late 1980s.

Janette at work in the late 1980s.

Archant

Cambridgeshire’s first female firefighter has called it a day after 30 years distinguished service.

Janette and the rest of the crew at Cottenham in the 1980s.Janette and the rest of the crew at Cottenham in the 1980s.

Crew Commander Janette Richards, 55, has retired from the on-call station at Cottenham.

The mother-of-one followed in her brother’s footsteps and joined Cambs Fire and Rescue in 1984.

At the time there was a height restriction and, even though she didn’t meet it, managers allowed her to join and monitored whether her height was an issue in training.

She said: “I’d already been associated with the fire service because my brother was a firefighter at Cottenham. They needed more day cover and I thought it was something I could do, especially being brought up with brothers.

“The fact that I was a 26-year-old woman at the time with a three-year-old daughter didn’t make any difference to me.

“I’ve never had the issue of sexism. I joined as a firefighter and was treated as a firefighter, the same as everyone else.

“It wasn’t common at the time to see other women in the fire service but I really don’t think it makes a difference what sex you are as long as you can do the job.”

She has attended hundreds of incidents, including fires at the Cambridge sites of Spiller’s Mill and The Regent Hotel, and flooded units in Barnwell Road, for which her crew received praise from a senior officer for their work.

Group Commander Dave Richardson said: “Janette was a pioneer; one of the first women to work in CFRS as a firefighter.

“It is not always easy being one of the first and Janette has always been professional and given her best in the role.

“She was also one of the first female leading firefighters (now called crew commander) and has played an active role in the management team at Cottenham Fire Station. We wish her all the best for the future.”

0 comments

More news stories

11 minutes ago
Police arrest a suspect (Mr Ian Clarke ) on for the offences of possessing class A and class B drugs  Operation Edison, Cambridgeshire Police conduct drug warrants at various addresses in Cambridgeshire,
71 Heron Croft, Soham
28/04/2016. 
Picture by Terry Harris.

A man was arrested in Soham last Thursday for possession of a class A and B drugs, alongside handling stolen goods as part of East Cambridgeshire Police’s latest crack-down.

13 minutes ago
Operation Edison, Cambridgeshire Police conduct the last of 4 warrants searching for drugs., 
Ely, Littleport, 
29/04/2016
Picture by Terry Harris.

Yet more arrests were made in Littleport as the curtain came down on East Cambridgeshire Police’s latest operation in their crackdown on drug related crime - Operation Edison.

18:28
Police enter the property. Operation Edison, Cambridgeshire Police conduct drug warrants at various addresses in Cambridgeshire,
85 Kingfisher Drive, Soham
27/04/2016. 
Picture by Terry Harris.

Two men were arrested for being in possession of a class B drug, namely cannabis, during a police raid in Soham.

17:30
Police conduct searches of suspected drug users outside the property. Operation Edison, Cambridgeshire Police conduct drug warrants at various addresses in Cambridgeshire,
17 Springhead Lane, Ely
26/04/2016. 
Picture by Terry Harris.

Suspected drug dealers across East Cambridgeshire were targeted in a series of police raids this week.

Most read stories

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Ely Standard e-edition E-edition
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up