Chemical Engineering


13 Dec 2018

Alumna follows father’s footsteps in joining London Fire Brigade

Sophie Simpson x 670

Sophie Simpson has made firefighting a family affair after joining the London Fire Brigade, 30 years after her father. 

The 2017 Chemical Engineering graduate became a Fire Engineer Technician in the Brigade’s Fire Engineering Team in early November. She served with her father, Borough Commander John Simpson, for a week before he retired.

Sophie has spoken of her family’s pride over her new role, with John having lived in Loughborough during his youth and Sophie’s grandfather having been a Mechanical Engineering lecturer at the University.

She said: “We finally got to wear the same uniform. My Dad has been embarrassingly proud of me.

“Growing up I always saw my Dad rushing off at a moment’s notice to incidents.

“No matter how difficult or challenging it might have been at times, he was always keen to get into work.

“He loved his career in the Brigade. It’s a work ethic that inspired me and it certainly encouraged me to work somewhere that had made my Dad so happy.”

Sophie, who was also a competitive swimmer for Loughborough during her degree, has also encouraged more women to take up STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects, with her team being almost 30% female:

“Studying STEM subjects gives you so many opportunities, it can take you so many places and it allows you to get involved in shaping the future.

“Chemical engineering was what I wanted to study, and it didn’t matter to me that it’s often perceived as a ‘boys subject’.

“In my new role as a Fire Engineer I am lucky enough to have an amazing female boss, which was really encouraging to see in terms of career aspirations and progression.

“I’m looking forward to being involved in the London Fire Brigade STEM events, actively encouraging young girls (and boys) to get involved in engineering, so if you see me around, say hi!”

The London Fire Brigade has over 100 stations across the capital city, employing over 5,000 active firefighters. The Fire Engineering Team provides advice and guidance on how to protect people, buildings and the environment from the harmful effects of fire and smoke. 

Congratulations to Sophie on her achievement from everyone in the Chemical Engineering Department!