Tony Blackwell 180The flag outside the headquarters of Dorset Fire and Rescue Service has flown at half-mast in honour of a man who dedicated over a quarter of a century to the Service.

Tony Blackwell joined Dorset Fire Brigade as a retained Firefighter in 1975 and went on to hold the post of Station Officer at Wareham Fire Station for over a decade before serving as a Community Volunteer right up until his passing at the begin of August.

At his funeral at St. Edward, King & Martyr Church in Corfe Castle firefighters from Wareham and Swanage fire stations formed a guard of honour and a fire engine from Wareham Fire Station was positioned outside the church adorned with a floral tribute.

Chief Fire Officer Darran Gunter said: "On behalf of everyone at Dorset Fire and Rescue Service we send our deepest condolences and sympathy to Tony's wife Sarah, their family and to his many friends and colleagues at this very sad time.

Read our exclusive interview with CFO Gunter in September's FIRE Magazine

After his formal retirement, former SO Blackwell re-joined DFRS in 2013 in his volunteer role and just two weeks ago had been one of the volunteers supporting Swanage Fire Station at their open day.

As a volunteer he gave his time to a wide variety of Service activities and DFRS Volunteer Coordinator Nicky Jenkins says "it was clear he took great pride in the work he carried out with the 'Safe Drive Stay Alive' team; his work educating young people about the importance of driving safely on our roads will never be forgetten".

Cllr Rebecca Knox, Chairman of Dorset Fire Authority added: "Tony will be remembered by all of his colleagues and thousands of residents who he met whether through his work in schools or at the many community events he attended, giving home safety advice with a sensitive understanding approach.

"The members of the Dorset Fire Authority send their deepest thanks for the service he provided to the community of Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole."