Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Firefighters and Family Say Their Farewells to True Hero ; Father-of-Two Died in Northern Quarter blazeMore Than a Thousand Mourners Attend Funeral

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Firefighters and Family Say Their Farewells to True Hero ; Father-of-Two Died in Northern Quarter blazeMore Than a Thousand Mourners Attend Funeral

Article excerpt

MORE than a thousand colleagues, friends and wellwishers gathered for the funeral of hero firefighter Stephen Hunt.

The father-of-two, 38, died battling a fire at Paul's Hair Work in the Northern Quarter in July.

Firefighters from across Greater Manchester lined Bolton Street in Bury town centre in a guard of honour as his coffin arrived on a vintage fire engine.

Leading the procession were a piper and two standard bearers dressed in traditional uniforms.

Mr Hunt's coffin was draped in a Union flag and yellow carnations, while a blue and yellow wreath spelt out 'Son' - the poignant reminder of a man taken in his prime.

Then, as the sun emerged from behind the clouds, his colleagues from Philips Park Blue Watch carried his coffin into Bury Parish Church.

Lining the steps and bearing a rainbow of flags, the principle guard of honour was made up of representatives from fire services from across the country. And after a minute's silence, the service began, with a full congregation inside the church and a huge crowd outside, including firefighters who had travelled from every corner of Britain.

In a service led by Rector for Bury Rev Dr John Findon, Mr Hunt's teenage children paid tribute to their father.

Daughter Charlotte told of her father's meticulous nature, love of life, silly sense of humour and infectious smile.

A City fan, he was an 'old fashioned gentleman' who loved James Bond, she said.

She added: "All of you know the name Stephen Hunt. Some of you will know little about the man behind that name.

"Steve was our dad. The only man we knew who ironed his underpants. He was warm, kind, loving, funny, and meticulous to the point of frustration. "It was not always appreciated by two lazy teenagers but now we realise how much we will miss it."

She said his motto was 'If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right'.

Son Sam told how excited he would be to visit his dad at weekends.

Speaking of the huge number of messages of support his family had received, he added: "This past month has been a whole whirlwind of emotions. …

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