Beci Newton became a firefighter with South Wales Fire and Rescue service in 2007 and is currently a Watch Manager on Green Watch in Caerphilly.
However, Beci explains that her journey to become a highly regarded firefighter was not an easy one.
Beci suffered Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) in a troubled childhood and teenage years that left her with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) which she deals with until this day. Whilst a teenager, Beci found and joined the Young Firefighters (now known as Fire Cadets) where she found the support to help her get through her traumatic experiences. This led Beci to the job of her dreams as a wholetime Firefighter – finding more than just a vocation, but a fire service family and eventually a new family of her own.
Beci’s family – her husband Matt, Son William, Daughter Elin and Cariad the Border collie – have sadly suffered due to her CPTSD. But with love, support and outstanding Mental Health care they’re moving forwards to ensure their lives are happy and healthy. She can’t stress enough how grateful she is for “long suffering” husband.
As well as being a full time working mother of two, Beci is also a local community councillor and a committee member of Caerphilly RFC. In what little spare time is left she enjoys training with Caerphilly Triers, watching rugby, listening to music and arguing with people on the internet. This woman is literally Super Mammy!!
Beci was invited to be part of the AFA’s and instantly fell in love with the idea. The prospect of being an even bigger role model to her own children and inspiring them to be more, do more and encourage them to inspire others, meant that she had to say YES to the adventure. This will undoubtedly be a huge personal challenge, all the while raising awareness about mental health and most definitely empowering women along the way.
Beci also has three main goals which we find fantastic; do not die, don’t lose a body part and attempt to get a selfie with a penguin!
As an all-female team of firefighters from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) and London Fire Brigade (LFB), they intend to be the first emergency service team to use muscle power alone to ski coast to coast across Antarctica on a route that has never been done by an all-female team before.
The challenge will take place in late 2023 with three years of specialist training and preparation required. In order to achieve their goals safely, the Fire Angels need to raise funds to secure vital equipment, satelitte communications, flights, medical cover and much more.
The Fire Angels hope to smash stereotypical barriers and inspire the next generation. The team hope the expedition will have a positive impact on future recruitment, so others can benefit from the rewarding career, as they have.
They are also looking to raise awareness of the impact of mental health on firefighters, who are often seen or portrayed as strong individuals who are impermeable to tragedy and able to cope with every situation. The Fire Angels want to highlight that emergency service workers are affected by mental health too.
To make this challenge a reality, the Fire Angels need to a raise a total of £500,000, whilst also seeking to raise vital funds for key charities such as The Firefighters Charity and The Fawcett Society. They are looking for inspirational sponsors to join them on their journey!
If you would like to sponsor the Fire Angels or have any questions, then please contact them via email: [email protected].
The Fire Angels are also raising money via their GoFundMe page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/antarctic-fire-angels
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I joined SWFRS 13 years ago, I’ve worked in 4 different stations and at headquarters as a firefighter, crew manager and temp watch manager. I adore my job and came to it after being a fire cadet for 4 years.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No I always wanted to be a firefighter, at 2 I’d already made my choice. I’m starting to look more clearly and make choices about how I want my career to progress from here.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
My only real challenges have been personal ones not work related but I’m proud of how I’ve developed through them and come out more focused.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
My family. They’re my everything and everything I do is for them
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
The unbelievable support I had from key role models in my younger life and the people who have mentored me at work to learn the skills I need and understand the role better.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
Mentoring is vital in the fire service. It happens daily. From operational knowledge being passed on from the older firefighter to the younger… but also the younger showing the older how to use the work computer system. Or across departments to get better insight into each other’s work.
I’ve had amazing mentors and been honoured to mentor some outstanding firefighters
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
To make sure every little girl leaves school / uni knowing their worth. To know that they can do anything!
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
You’re stronger than you know. Rest when you need to. Trust others. Ask for help before it’s too late.
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I’m looking to gain another work promotion in the coming months. And the BIG one coming in 2023 is traversing Antarctica!