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Queen's Birthday Honours: Hertfordshire's retiring fire chief recognised with Queen's Fire Service Medal

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Hertfordshire's fire chief, who was one of more than 200 firefighters involved in tackling the devastating Windsor Castle blaze in 1992, has been named in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen, who retires at the end of July, has been given a fitting send-off by being awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service.

Mr Keen has been recognised for his 30-year career, the last decade of which he has spent at Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS). He will receive his medal in a ceremony later this year.

Herts Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen has been awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service (48107255)
Herts Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen has been awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal for Distinguished Service (48107255)

He said: “I'm extremely proud to be afforded this honour. I have very much enjoyed my career in the fire service and have been lucky enough to support many people at their time of greatest need.

"One of the early lessons though was how much the fire service is a team organisation, and so this is not just for all that I have done but is also a reflection of my colleagues in HFRS, who I am extremely proud of.”

Mr Keen joined the service in 1991 in Royal Berkshire, where he worked his way up the career ladder from firefighter to station commander. He then moved to Buckinghamshire.

He joined HFRS in 2011 and four years ago was appointed chief fire officer and Hertfordshire County Council’s director of community protection.

Under his leadership, the Herts service has embarked on a number of key projects, from the opening of the joint emergency services training academy and increased collaboration with police colleagues to a greater focus on diversity and inclusion under his watch and increased mental health support for staff.

In March 2020, at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, he took on a key role as chair of the strategic co-ordination group of Hertfordshire's Local Resilience Forum, set up to tackle the spread of Covid-19 in the county.

Under his leadership, organisations across the county – including the NHS, councils, emergency services, Environment Agency, Highways Agency and military and voluntary sectors – worked together to support and protect residents and businesses, identifying local outbreaks, setting up vaccination centres and encouraging testing and self-isolation compliance.

Mr Keen has also taken on national projects through his work as the National Fire Chiefs Council’s strategic lead for operational communications, most notably through projects to future-proof control rooms across the country, working closely with BT to improve resilience and ensure control operators are using the most effective technology.

In 2019, he became a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire.

Herts County Council chief executive Owen Mapley said: "Darryl has made an enormous contribution to the council, Herts Fire and Rescue Service and to wider public service across Hertfordshire, and I am delighted his dedication has been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen.

“We are very grateful for all he has done during his time at Hertfordshire County Council, and we pay tribute to the local, regional and national leadership he has shown in a career dedicated to improving public safety.”


Dame Commander of the Order of the Bath (DCB)

Elizabeth Anne Finlay Gardiner CB – First Parliamentary Counsel, Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. For services to government and the legislative process (Bishop's Stortford)

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

Ben Davies Levinson – headteacher, Kensington Primary School, Newham. For services to education (Sawbridgeworth)

Edward Stephen Rees – vice president, discovery biology department, AstraZeneca. For services to UK science and the Covid-19 response (Welwyn)

Veronica Maudlyn Ryan – sculptor. For services to art (Stevenage)

Christopher Paul Skeith – chief executive officer, Association of Event Organisers. For services to the events industry during Covid-19 (Tring)

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

Richard Hugh Beazley DL – for services to the community in Hertfordshire (Ware)

Elizabeth Anne Butterfield – deputy governor, Church Lads and Church Girls Brigade. For services to young people (Borehamwood)

Linda Ann Crowe – senior project manager for Health and Social Care Network, NHS Digital. For services to health and care particularly during Covid-19 (Watford)

Elizabeth Charlotte Franklin-Jones – children's senior sister, children's emergency department, East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. For services to nursing and mental health services (Hertford)

Jane Susan MacLaren – for political service (Potters Bar)

Sarah-Jane Mukherjee – for services to British agriculture and farmer wellbeing (Royston)

Catherine Ann Pelley – chief nurse and director of clinical governance, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. For services to nursing leadership in the NHS (Abbots Langley)

Francis Arthur Runacres – executive director, enterprise and innovation, Arts Council England. For services to the arts (St Albans)

Geoffrey Michael Simmonds – trustee, Pavilion Opera Educational Trust. For services to education (Bushey)

Jaime Bree Smith – director, mental health and wellbeing in schools programme, Anna Freud Centre, London. For services to education (Watford)

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire (BEM)

Geoffrey Harold Apperley – deputy national welfare adviser, Royal Naval Association. For voluntary service in support of naval veterans during Covid-19 (Royston)

Daniel Benjamin Black – for services to laser technology innovation (Elstree)

Angela Mary Dukes – site staff, Watford Grammar School for Boys. For services to education (Watford)

Dr William Alan Hawkshaw – for services to music and composing (Radlett)

Rajendra Parshotam Popat Pankhania – for services to older people and to the community in Stanmore, north London (Northwood)

Victoria Pooley – for services to the community in Hitchin (Hitchin)

Jon Pratten – chief executive officer, Jubilee House Care Trust. For services to people with learning disabilities in Hertfordshire during Covid-19 (Hemel Hempstead)

Elizabeth Mary Timmons – voluntary inpatient unit assistant, Peace Hospice Care. For services to terminally ill patients (Watford)

Queen's Fire Service Medal (QFSM)

Darryl Anthony Keen – Chief Fire Officer, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

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