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Final salute to Accrington veteran fireman
FINAL farewells have been paid to a dedicated veteran firefighter and grandfather from Accrington.
Lancashire firefighters arrived in a fire engine and carried Alan Shepherd’s coffin into the crematorium on Burnley Road yesterday, six days after he died aged 85.
His family and friends attended a service at Trinity Community Church, off Manchester Road, Accrington where they paid tribute to the ‘old school fireman’.
His wife of 56 years, Hilda, said: “We met in Sunday school when I was 16 and he was 24. He was very, very pleasant and trustworthy and liked meeting people.
“He was a good dad and a family man.”
His son-in-law, Stephen Johnson, said: “He was a dedicated fireman, like so many are today. Firefighters have values and standards and he had those too.
“He was a dependable person who cared a lot about the job.”
Born in 1928, Mr Shepherd attended Church Kirk Infants and Juniors, followed by Oswaldtwistle Technical College. At 18, he served his national service as a military policeman in Palestine between 1946 and 1948, a spell he said made a man of him.
He joined the fire service after training to be a painter and decorator and served in Accrington, before moving to Rawtenstall as a head firefighter working in fire prevention.
In 1980 he suffered a heart attack and retired the following year. He spent his final years at Woodlands Care Home, Clayton-le-Moors, until his death last Wednesday.
When he wasn’t dedicated to saving lives in the fire service, Mr Shepherd focused on his family and faith, and was a keen singer.
He and Hilda had a daughter, Valerie, and enjoyed spending time with two grandchildren.
Valerie’s husband, Stephen, said: “He was a very hands-on grandad. He and Hilda helped with our children and used to pick them up from school and take them to the park.
Mr Shepherd was also a member of the Accrington Male Voice Choir.
He sang at various churches and won several prizes at music festivals.
“He had such a beautiful singing voice,” Hilda said.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue spokesman, John Taylor, added: “We recognise and share in the grief of the moment and are proud to be able to contribute to the final farewell to a much respected colleague. We would like to offer our condolences to Hilda and Mr Shepherd’s family and friends.
Donations can be made to The Fire Fighters’ Charity, c/o Hyndburn Funeral Services, Penny House Lane, Accrington.
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