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Chief Fire Officer Sponsors Lewes FC Women striker

Date : 22 December 2020


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Following East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s decision to join the Lewes FC’s ‘SisterShips’ programme earlier this year, CFO of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service Dawn Whittaker has now sponsored young forward Simran Jhamat.

They met outside our headquarters and briefly removed masks for a socially-distanced photograph.

The SisterShips are predominantly local women’s organisations associated with the club because they empower women and/or girls in some way. The club and the member organisations mutually support and promote each other.

Jhamat joined Lewes in August 2020, having represented England in the U17, U18, U19 teams and only making her professional debut in January 2019.

Both Lewes Football Club and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) are committed to changing stereotypes around women working in traditionally male-dominated environments. ESFRS now have over 6% of women in their operational workforce but believe that figure is still too low to be truly representative of the community they serve. It’s a documented fact that many women don’t even consider a career in the fire service and ESFRS are keen to address that.

CFO Whittaker said, “Although I admit to being more of a rugby fan (I am Welsh!) than footie, I have been inspired by what Lewes FC have done to support women, the first club to pay their women professional team players the same as men and to be recognised by the United Nations for raising the issue of inclusion. On a personal level, I was very pleased to sponsor striker Simran Jhamat. It was great to meet her and hear more about her journey and passion. Come on you Rooks!”

Jhamat said, ‘I’m really happy to have Dawn’s support – hoping I can put one in the back of the net in the name of sistership!”

Lewes director Karen Dobres added, “One thing we need to do is show that footballers and firefighters are not necessarily male, and that gender doesn’t dictate who can kick a ball and who can keep our community safe! It’s brilliant to join forces with the Fire Service and keep busting those myths. Looking forward to hearing Dawn chant for Simran in the terraces now that a safe Covid-capped crowd is allowed back at the Dripping Pan!”

Gender Inclusion Network

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Gender Inclusion Network organised "It Starts With You 2020" back in October, which took on a very different approach to previous events, as this was held virtually.

Our focus was on sport, well-being and how we can help remove barriers. Following a welcome from our Chief Fire Officer Dawn Whittaker, we heard from Karen Dobres Co-director of Lewes FC Women and Rhian Cleverly Captain of Lewes FC Women – the only football club in the world where women and men are treated and paid equally.

To find out more about our Gender Inclusion Network click here for details. 

 Further information on sponsoring a player can be found here 

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