Former fire helmets will be seen in a whole new light as we pull up the curtain on our Ashes to Art exhibition.

Attendees can view each piece of art up close and place a bid to win their favourite concept via the online auction which is being hosted on Peoples Fundraising.

The event comes after artists were encouraged to submit design concepts to show how they would use a decommissioned fire helmet as a canvas. In total over 60 designs were submitted.

The successful local artists have since been working hard to transform the treasured fire helmets into unique works of art to raise money for The Fire Fighters Charity.

Looking to bid on your favourite helmet? You can request more photographs by emailing FRSMedia@westsussex.gov.uk, or view all the helmets in person at Worthing Town Hall between 16 - 19 April 2024. 



Due to a technical error - the auction was closed by mistake 24 hours early.

This has been rectified and will close at midnight tonight.

Apologies for the confusion

Updated on Tue, April 30 2024, 12:29 PM


The Fire Fighters Charity

The Fire Fighters Charity offers specialist, lifelong support for members of the UK fire services community, empowering individuals to achieve mental, physical and social wellbeing throughout their lives.

£2,738.88 raised by 93 supporters

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From the 12th April 2024 at 04:00 PM, until the 1st May 2024 at 12:20 AM.

Anna Foxhall


I chose this design because I am fascinated with space and the outer world. I also chose it because one of my favourite memories is seeing shooting stars with my dad! I love how all the stars are different and how not one of them is the same.

I learnt to doodle and draw from my sister, I find doodling very relaxing and a way to get rid of any stress or worries by getting everything off my mind and onto the page. At home I try to draw and create art as often as I can because I find it very satisfying seeing my ideas being brought to life. I decided to paint my helmet in a monochromatic theme because it represents a sharp contrast between earth and space.

An artist who inspires me is Visoth Kakvei who is a Cambodian graphic designer who specialises in intricate, hand-drawn doodles. He is very talented and I love the way he incorporates nature into his art work! 

Anna Foxhall, The Angmering School

Final bid £65.00

April Wells

April Wells (6).jpg

This helmet was mainly inspired by two different things, Basquiat and How To Train your Dragon.

My friend Olivia showed me this opportunity right after I had finished re-watching the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy, so funky dragons were fresh on my mind, and that led to the idea of a water-breathing dragon being nice to put on a fire helmet.

It was also inspired by the artist Basquiat who is also always on my mind, so I wanted to incorporate bright colours and strong angular lines into my dragon design. Making this was so fun and it was hard to let this Helmet go! 

I've loved creating art since as long as I can remember, and spray painting a fire helmet was not how I thought my uni experience would be but I am very grateful of it.

Final bid £250.00

Baljit Balrow

Baljit Balrow (4).jpg

I was really thrilled to submit a design for the Fire Brigade and The Fire Fighters Charity, it is very close to my heart.

The design had a link to the work of the brigade and my experience of being an intuitive artist.

My work displays dynamic, energetic colours. I experiment with paint which allows me to take risks confidently in my work. The helmet represents the dynamic incidents the fire brigade attends with unexpected diversions.

Final bid £135.00

Ben Cavanagh

Ben Cavanagh (6).jpg

'Sun Hat' 2024

'It has been an honour to paint this firefighter helmet and to contribute towards The Fire Fighters Charity and all the amazing work they do.

My helmet design 'Sun Hat' hopefully will make people smile and bring some fun to the exhibition.

My inspiration is the bright, sunny days by the sea.

Spray paint and paint pens on used the firefighter helmet.

Ben Cavanagh is a mural artist and illustrator based in Littlehampton, on the Sussex coast.

Ben specializes in big, colourful designs and bold characters drawn from imagination.

He is inspired by street art, Japanese anime, mythology and the natural world.

Ben works mainly on digital illustration, spray painted murals and hand painted art pieces.

He enjoys creating custom art on unusual objects, from recycled spray cans, skateboards and used train tickets.

Ben likes to paint outside so everyone can have access to art and brighten their day.

Art on the streets can have an emotional impact. It can make you think, it can be informative and it can change the way you feel.

Final bid £88.88

Chloe Langton

Chloe Langton (7).jpg

I’m an aspiring artist living in Worthing.

I spray painted the helmet white then used acrylic pens to doodle a free hand design onto it, changing the look of the helmet completely. In some places the paint pooled or cracked but I wanted to keep that effect as it demonstrates the previous experience of both the helmet and the firefighters who wore it.

Using zentangle you never know how the finished product will turn out. Anyone can zentangle and create something like this, mistakes happen when you're painting freehand and you need to embrace it and work it into the design. Painting can be a great way to unwind and relax, and the firefighters charity is passionate about looking after people's mental health, zentangle doodling has been used in studies on healthcare workers and one study provided evidence that zentangle can effectively relieve stress and frustration, thus improving physical and mental health.

I created a YouTube video to document my experience.

Instagram - @chauloom

Final bid £140.00

Chris Baigent

Chris Baigent (11).jpg

I like painting,

I liked dabbing with my brush.

I like yellow and red paint,

It makes me happy

I liked the Fire-helmet, I think it’s good.

Chris Baigent, The Judith Adams Centre

Final bid £45.00

Daisy Young


My inspiration for my design is one of my best friend Chloe. This is because she always brightens my day, so I drew flowers to represent all the times she has made my day better.

Daisy Young, The Angmering School

Final bid £45.00

Dean Lacey

Dean Lacey (7).jpg

The concept came from one of my colleagues who is suffering with PTSD and describes it as the dark place that’s always in the background. 

The piece is called “The dark place behind the visor” and signifies that behind our visors is a person just like you, and that PTSD can affect firefighters due to the things they see and witness.

I have had the misfortune to see several of my colleagues suffer with PTSD and as such this is a personal driver of mine to highlight the challenges our staff can face.

Note: The helmet comes with a box that has also been painted in black, so that the main thing you see is the golden visor shining through the darkness. 

Final bid £205.00

Hajira Benmoussa

Hajira Benmoussa (7).jpg

I'm Hajira, a henna artist, seamstress, teacher and maker of soaps.

My artwork for this project comes from my love of Henna. As a henna artist, I get to meet lots of lovely people and over the years I have met a number of women who have suffered hair loss through having Chemotherapy.

My first Henna Crown was about nine years ago and is still one of my favourite things to do. So many people are touched by cancer and hair loss for a lot of women is a very difficult thing to cope with on top of all of the invasive treatments.

All of the women I have done crowns for have said how the crowns make them feel beautiful again. The helmet I have crowned for this project has many scars from its time with the fire service. I dedicate this crown to all of the amazing women currently facing battles with cancer and hair loss.

Final bid £175.00

Holly Street


Not everything dies in a fire. Some things bloom, or adapt and overcome the destruction flames can create.

The aloe plant has thick skin to guard against fires, the candelabra aloe flowers shown growing upwards on the helmet are to represent the life that can be created or preserved during some of these fires.

The poppy carries a wealth of history within it, it symbolises the armed forces and lives lost during war. Many firefighters have military backgrounds that are still a huge part of their life, which is why this flower has been included in the design.

Forget-me-nots show respect and are used to carry on memories of many people who have saved lives and loved ones.

Finally, the vines that grow over the helmet represent growth and life after events that are life-changing, helping people grow after these events is what The Fire Fighters Charity ethos represents which is why it was so important to show this within my design.

Final bid £65.00

Jamie Gladman

Jamie Gladman (8).jpg

My name is Jamie Gladman from Havant, Hampshire. I am a self taught Air Brush Artist with 10 years experience.

Having had my uncle serving in the fire service & my son joining the service last year, I felt I needed to do my part to hopefully raise money for a fantastic & worthy cause.

Hearing this first hand the fantastic work that the firefighters do, not only on saving lives but right through to helping the community too. The fearlessness & braveness of each & everyone of them is have so much admiration for each & everyone of them.

My design was inspired by the firefighters & the great danger they are up against day in day out & they still continue to do their job no matter whatever they are up against.

The dragon breathing fire on the back of the helmet & the firefighter facing head on into danger is a reminder of what the firefighters are up against.

The two side dragons represent red for fire & blue for water - in constant battle with each other.

The front represents the reflection of the fire in the face protection which they all face at least once in the career.

I have had the great pleasure of doing this piece of artwork.

Final bid £360.00

Jennifer Plested

Jennifer Plested (3).jpg

Having recently worked on a project involving insects, I was inspired by them and the phrase ‘like a moth to a flame’ to use red, orange and yellow moths with accurate designs to create stylised flames. For the visor, I painted grey moths to represent the ash pile incorporating one moth with small red details to illustrate the lasting embers. I have left the original smoky residue on the reverse of the visor and so the grey moths look particularly striking with a light behind.

Moths mostly come out at dusk, which is often synonymous with a time of winding down and so compliments these helmets entering their ‘twilight’ years. I felt the striking markings of the helmets' years of use and the original colour enhance my flame design. Moths are lightweight, delicate, and often frenetic like flames and are also both of great beauty, but anyone who has had a badly placed candle, clothes in long-term storage or a precious crop of leeks knows, they can also cause great destruction. Both need to be treated with care, along with many of the creatures we share the planet with, moths are also in decline.

Facebook - Jennifer 'jppyro' Plested Artist

Final bid £100.00

Joanne Light

Joanne Light (4).jpg

I like painting butterflies, it makes me happy.

I like using a sponge to paint with, 

My favourite colour is orange, it makes me smile.

Thank you for choosing my work.

Joanne Light, The Judith Adams Centre

Final bid £30.00

Kathryn Doggett

Kathryn Doggett (4).jpg

My piece is created using acrylic paints and pen work. It was designed to demonstrate some of the harsh environments experienced by firefighters daily and I drew inspiration from the elements they face. I also wanted to portray a firefighter wearing BA- to show the person beneath the mask, which is a nod to my father who was a West Sussex firefighter and I am immensely proud of!

I greatly enjoyed this opportunity to paint a disused fire helmet and I hope you enjoy my artwork.

Kathryn Doggett

Final bid £110.00

Kev Fyfe

Kevin Fyfe (2).jpg

“Who am I?”

What do you see? Who do you see?

What you see will be Determined by Your Expectations, Your Needs, Your Desires or this could be as simple as what you find Pleasing or Tasteful.

Am I - A Firefighters Helmet that has been splashed by Paint? Or Am I - Art?

These objects you see before you, DO You - Like, Dislike, or are you Not Sure? You may have made this Judgement based on how you, the Individual feels, how this Object makes you feel. This feeling may be exaggerated because of a Memory, Good or Bad this object Evokes. Do you see the Ashes because you think of a Fire, or do you see a Strong, Tall, Masculine, Brave Firefighter because they are the type of person that may have worn this Fire Helmet, this piece of Art, this Mask?

Final bid £70.00

Kornelia Diosi

Kornelia Diosi (7).jpg

My name is Kornelia and I am from Slovakia

I have always been a big fan of the UK since childhood so it was a dream come true when I finally moved here. I always liked to be creative, I draw a lot and paint.

I did not pursue my artistic talent to college which I regret to this day. That is also the reason why I entered into this contest. This is the first time I might show my amateur artistic skills publicly. And also, my first child is a very big fan of the fire department so I wanted to contribute in a way that could honour them.

The design was inspired by a rebel helmet from Star Wars, since I am a big fan. When I saw the post about the helmets, it immediately gave me the idea. I had lots of fun painting it.

Final bid £55.00

Lara D'Cruz

Lara D'Cruz.jpg


Our minds whirring away, getting lost in our own thoughts and negativity. We need to take stock and reflect about how we really are and checking in with others with this same question. In-between the whirring we need to try and find some calm and tranquillity.

This design reflects this idea. The cogs of the brain that keep on whirring but acknowledging the floral design, acknowledging that bit of calm we all need in our lives.

Using acrylics and permanent marker pen.

By Lara Rachael

Final bid £100.00

Lee Elliott

Natalie Elliott (10).jpg

I really like to focus on the humour and surreal happenings of everyday life, and through this I tend to draw a lot of simple, single line cartoons that can channel that feeling. I usually make many disparate and individual doodles on little bits of paper, each being something I haven’t drawn before, but for this design I decided to see what would happen if all of these doodles existed together.

I wanted to pack in as many different things as I could, animals, people dancing, a carrot, while also being able to include things that were a bit more specific to Sussex. I have included an Albion footballer, a seagull and some chips, the martlets, and of course a firefighter at the top of the helmet.

I focussed on making a harmonious space for all of these characters to exist and interact with each other, intertwining them and hopefully creating a few different pathways for someone’s eye to travel across. I also loved the idea of hiding little bits in and around the composition, which is why I decided to draw and paint on the underside of the helmet, as well as placing a little secret on the inside of the visor!

Final bid £60.00

Louisa Higgins

Louisa Higgins (2).jpg

I enjoyed painting the helmet for the competition a lot. 

I chose blue because it looked nice.

I felt very proud of my helmet and I worked hard.

My team helped me and it made me smile.

Louisa Higgins, The Judith Adams Centre

Final bid £35.00

Lucille Salisbury

Lucille Salisbury (2).jpg

I would love to be able to draw, but I can’t…. since a little girl I have tried to draw and can only make it to stick people. My uncle was an artist in the 1960s and many of my cousins and nephews have all been blessed with this skill, it somehow missed me out. To that end I still dabble some 50 years on and keep trying. 

The inspiration for me taking on the Ashes to Art challenge was my love for Clarise Cliff, a 1930s ceramicist who painted in vibrant colours. Having seen one of her designs on a cream jug, this gave me the idea to replicate it as best I can onto a fire helmet. 

I found the project to be very relaxing and took me away from everyday life for a short time, now I have paint left over I may just try and find the talent that has escaped me for so many years.

Final bid £140.00

Mabel Turner


I chose to paint my firefighter's helmet with a scene of the sea, to be ironic. When you think of the great burning embers of flames, your mind is not immediately drawn to the blue, crashing waves of the ocean- but in many ways they are more similar than you would first expect. Both incredible forces of nature, both powerful and of course both when uncontrolled, very dangerous. I believe it is important to respect the world around us and to see it for everything it is: beautiful. All the extraordinary fascinating wildlife that lives in the ocean deserves to be recognised more: fish with their technicolour coats of scales and seaweed, with its flowing tentacles- therefore I tried to represent that. I wanted to raise awareness for our environment and to also, namely, attempt to call out pollution as it is a driving factor in destroying our planet.

When you think of childhood memories, many of us are drawn to the sparkling seaside. It’s important to ensure it stays within our future, not just our past.

Mabel Turner, The Angmering School

Final bid £35.00

Nichola Rodgers

Nichola Rodgers (4).jpg

As a trained fine artist, Nichola has a creative practice that explores the symbiosis of nature and humans through various mediums. 

Here she creates intricate details that reflect the interconnectedness of nature, demonstrating how unity and balance lead viewers on a visual narrative, to a thriving metropolis. 

Exploring the delicate balance between the surreal and the natural, where trees, planets, and mushrooms coexist in perfect symbiotic harmony, and where the synergy of this relationship shapes a utopian cityscape.

Nichola wanted to use these drawings on one of the helmets, as a symbol of regrowth, as many types of plants and mycelium need the aftermath of a fire to awaken them to a new beginning.


View the creation of this piece on TikTok: @nj.studio72

or Instagram @nj.arts.studio

Final bid £55.00

Roger Moore

Roger Moore (5).jpg

The Firefighters Gift

I’m a retired Hampshire firefighter who was stationed at Southsea then Havant Fire Stations.

I have attended many incidents in my career, some of which include fires on super tankers, aircraft carriers, submarines, high rise buildings, National Trust Properties (Uppark House), basements, chemical incidents, thatch properties, chimney fires, road traffic collisions – sometimes jointly with West Sussex.

I have rescued people, cats, dogs, horses, cows even a hamster caught in a cavity wall, the list goes on.

Sometimes however much training you’ve undertaken, things can go wrong, this can have a big impact on you and your family. As a firefighter you know the Fire Fighters Charity is always there for support.

I’ve always enjoyed art, and turned down the opportunity to go on to art college. When I retired from the fire service I regained my passion for art.

The design of the helmet was chosen as a reflection of a firefighter’s experience, and also it would be something I’d like to own.

Having the opportunity to contribute my own art on a Gallet Helmet to this wonderful cause has brought back many memories.

Final bid £145.00

Rosemary McIntosh

Rosemary McIntosh (5).jpg

"The Fire Peacock"-This has been a labour of love for me.

I found out around the time of the death of my mother in 2016,that the peacock is a powerful spiritual symbol that represents renewal, resurrection, awakening, purity, and a connection between heaven and earth". I was seeing peacocks everywhere, what was going on?....When I discovered the spiritual meaning of a peacock I felt I was being given a message, mum was with her mum both in spirit now,where she had always wanted to be since she lost her to the grim reaper at the tender age of 15 years old. She was happy now!

So to all those their families and friends left behind due to the terrible loss their amazing firefighters men and women ...I believe they look down on us all full of love,compassion and ready to support us when asked to.

The seven coloured feathers represent our bodies main chakra system.The chakras are energy centers in the body that correspond to certain nerve bundles and major organs. They are spinning disks of energy that should stay open and balanced.They are depicted by colour and symbols. When imbalance, this energy system supports us in life.

The Chakra symbols are visual representations of each chakra (hidden inside the helmet!)

I can only imagine that the qualities and personalities of our firefighters, represent/show, at many times, a true balance of themselves in order to carry out the task they have offered themselves up to do. I trust and hope they receive the vital support from each other and professionals when needed, to ensure they are in the best of health, in mind, body and spirit. Many Blessings on you all!

Rosemary McIntosh

Final bid £40.00

Staci Mendoza - Quinn

Staci Mendoza-Quinn (9).jpg

I have worked as a professional artist and illustrator since the age of 16. 

Both my parents and other family members ar artists ranging from muralists, sculptures and photographers, this has helped my development from an early age. 

I have utilised my talents in many diverse fields from fashion magazines to book illustrations, I work in multiple mediums and formats. I specialise in spray paint art and UV reactive under blue light art. This includes revamping shop fronts, signage and creating large murals on walls. 



Final bid £85.00

Vanessa Neale

Vanessa Neale (1).jpg

As an amateur artist I love to paint and be creative in my spare time. I occasionally enter local competitions to challenge myself and have been lucky enough to have my work selected for an exhibition at the i360 in Brighton and also Littlehampton Museum. In addition, one of my designs was published in the Waitrose Food magazine.

More recently I was selected as a finalist in the Worthing Portrait Artist of the Year competition. I had the privilege of painting local celebrity Robin Cousins in the final and really enjoyed the experience.

My submission for Ashes to Art was based on making the most of the helmet’s shape. 

When I looked at the helmet I immediately saw a chicken’s head, particularly with its comb shaped top and beaked visor, which when pulled down opens the mouth. 

Although I’m sure working for the fire service is definitely not for chickens!

I am extremely proud to be helping to raise funds for this important charity.

Final bid £105.00

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