THE family of a popular firefighter have presented a new award dedicated to his memory.

The accolade named after John Cassell went to the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service response support team for excellence in staff safety.

Mr Cassell dedicated most of his career to colleague safety through training and development and the award recognises those who share his commitment.

He was based mainly in Taunton, but worked across Somerset until his death in July 2014.

He was appointed an emergency response driving instructor in 1991, responsible for developing novice drivers to the level where they were confident and capable of safely and swiftly driving fire appliances to emergency incidents.

Mr Cassell later transferred to a wider training role where he was responsible for the development of new firefighters in their firefighting, rescue, fire behaviour and breathing apparatus as well as refresher training for a wide range of fire and rescue skills.

Chief fire officer Lee Howell said: "John’s professionalism alongside his calm and engaging manner made him an excellent trainer who was universally respected by all members of the service."

The John Cassell Award for Excellence in Staff Safety was presented by Mr Cassell's widow and daughters at the service’s annual awards ceremony at its HQ in Exeter.

His daughter Terri Davey said: "We were really touched to be invited to present an award in memory of dad.

"All the award winners deserved recognition and we were pleased to be part of a wonderful evening."