The Team

Mark Baxter Chair of UK Fire Cadets

In 1992, Mark started his career with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue as a retained firefighter.  He then joined the service as a wholetime firefighter two years later.  Mark has spent all of this career in Lincolnshire and worked in and led several departments such as Organisational Development and Divisional Teams before taking on the role as Area Manger Response as part of the Senior Leadership Team in 2017.

Since that time Mark has taken on the role of Assistant Chief Fire Officer overseeing Response and Corporate Support and then progressed to Deputy Chief Fire Officer where he also undertook the role of Deputy Chair of the Lincolnshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and helped lead the county’s response to the Covid pandemic.

Mark took over as Chief Fire Officer in 2020 and then became the Chair of the LRF in 2022.  Since becoming Chief Fire Officer Mark has joined the NFCC Finance Committee as representative for County Councils and has been part of the project team to develop the NFCC Supervisory Leadership Development Programme and has taken over the role as Project Executive from October 2022.

Ann-Marie Lawson: Vice Chair of UK Fire Cadets

Hi, I am Ann-Marie the newly appointed Vice Chair for UKFC. I am looking forward to dedicating my time and expertise to the Fire Cadets because I believe it to be an exemplar national programme

After 28 years in finance, then studying Applied Social Sciences specialising in Youth and Community Development, I was determined to be an agent of social change because I always found a plethora of talent that had never been tapped into whilst working with young people in some of the most deprived and forgotten communities. I set up the award winning detached youthwork JAM team (Home Office Tilley Award, and Howard League for Penal Reform Award) who provided positive interactions and helped raise aspirations and self-belief. I was also named the National Youth Agency’s Youth Worker of the year.

Fire Cadets is an attractive alternative for young people to feel they belong, listened too, and feel safe in a way that foster inclusion and provides positive role models that young people will remember for the rest of their lives.

I set up the UK’s first Tri-Service cadet programme between Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue, Police and East Midlands Ambulance Service, with over 300 cadets who make us proud every day, and I am currently the Strategic Lead for Citizens in Policing in Northamptonshire, which encompasses the Special Constabulary, Police Service Volunteers and Emergency Service Cadets.

I have an innate desire to ensure that anyone who gives their time freely should be valued and their contribution recognised, after all, professionals built the Titanic whilst volunteers built the Arc.

I have a busy social life, I am married to Alan, who is happily retired, a mum to Kimberley who is Director of a charity and a Grandma to Ebony and Jacob, the lights of my life. I like to travel, eat good food, try new things, and have lots of adventures.

Gary Williams: UK Fire Cadets National Manager

I am extremely proud and honoured to have been selected as the new National Fire Cadet Manager for the UKFC.

I started working with young people in 1986 and I have never looked back. I have gained a vast amount of experience working in youth clubs, primary and secondary schools and referral units, and I loved every minute of it.

I joined Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service back in 2016, I have loved being able to have a direct impact on the health and well-being of young people, and to support them to make positive life choices with the help of colleagues and operational staff.

This is a really exciting opportunity for me, and with your help, I hope to continue to support staff to provide amazing opportunities to Fire Cadets across the UK.

Melanie O’Hare: National Youth Participation Officer

I have worked with children and young people for my whole career starting with Local Authority and the beginning my Fire Service Journey in 2015 when I joined Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service as an Education Officer.

Within this role I had my first taste of Fire Cadets and right from the off, I knew this was a very special programme with huge benefits to the young people that attended.

I moved to Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service in 2021 as a Fire Cadet Manager, a role solely focussing on Fire Cadets.

Having worked with the UKFC on different national cadet events and projects, I realised what an important role they and the NFCC play in governing and supporting those delivering Fire Cadets and all of the other youth and intervention projects, so when the opportunity came along to join the team, I jumped at the chance of becoming their new Participation Officer.

Sarah Brown, NFCC Head of Prevention

‘I am really pleased that UK Fire Cadets has joined our new NFCC Prevention Hub as part our offer to Fire and Rescue Service. I am looking forward to be seeing the role of Fire Cadets in action at our national events this year.’