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Final ride for former Tewkesbury firefighter Howard Nash

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: July 20, 2013

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PARTS of Tewkesbury ground to a halt as former fireman Howard Nash took his last ride in a fire engine.

The 73-year-old, who died at his home in the town from cancer on July 5, was carried slowly through the streets in the back of the vehicle.

His coffin, with a Union flag and roses on top, sat on the back seat of one of two appliances that made their way from the fire station in Oldbury Road to the baptist church in Station Road.

With blue lights flashing, they moved slowly in between hearses at the front and back of the procession.

It was a fitting tribute to Mr Nash from firefighters, some of whom he had worked with during 28 years as a member of the retained crew in Tewkesbury, between 1966 and 1994.

The last seven years were as station commander.

Ken Powell, a former colleague of his in the fire service, was one of four to carry the coffin into the church.

There, around 200 people packed in to pay their last respects to a man who served on the town council for eight years and was mayor in 1997/98.

In his eulogy, Mr Powell said: "So farewell Howard. Rest in peace my station officer and our friend."

He then referred to the fact that Mr Nash owned and ran HWN Autospares in Barton Street from 1978 to 2006 with his son Richard.

He said: "No Howard, you can't sell car parts in heaven but I bet the first thing you ask St Peter as you pass through those pearly gates is 'Would you mind directing me to the nearest fire station as I would like to join'."

Mr Powell also raised a laugh by recalling amusing incidents he attended with Mr Nash.

One saw him having to sprint like mad after a horse, whose reins were attached to his arm, that suddenly bolted.

It happened when the crew responded to a report of a fire at a farm where horses were kept.

The horse had been frightened by someone accidentally, or mischievously, sounding the fire engine's sirens.

"To this day, we're not sure whose legs were moving the fastest – the horse's or Howard's," he said.

Mourners, including Mr Nash's widow Sheila and their son Richard, said prayers, sang two hymns and heard a Bible reading and an address from baptist church minister the Rev Bill O'Leary.

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