A HERO former policeman who also helped the makers of the Z Cars TV drama, has died at the age of 71.

Errol Vincent Bamber, who earned a bravery award after risking his life to save a woman from a house fire, was remembered as a ‘popular’ man who ‘got on with everybody’.

Born in Preston, Mr Bamber joined the police cadets straight from school and trained at Hutton.

After a short spell in Bacup, he was posted to Accrington, where he served until his retirement aged 44.

Mr Bamber worked as a firearms officer, and was also an advanced police driver.

When programme makers from the BBC were developing Z Cars, which ran from 1962 to 1978, Mr Bamber took them on a shift to give them a taste of front line policing.

Mr Bamber’s son, Stephen, said: “He was a strict dad, but he was a loving dad. His colleagues thought he was fantastic.

“He started when they didn’t have radios, he used a whistle.”

A police spokesman said: “We are saddened to learn of the death of Mr Bamber.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”

After retiring, Mr Bamber worked as a steward, behind the bar at Burnley Road Bowling Club, in Accrington then retired from the club after 12 years, due to ill health.

He died on January 2, and was cremated at Accrington Crematorium on Friday.

Current steward, Ray Jarzembski, said: “Judging by the number of people who were at his funeral, he was popular.”

He was also a regular at The Greyhound Inn, in Whalley Road. Manager Eddie Balmer said: “He used to attend the quiz nights on a regular basis. Errol was a popular guy. He got on well with everybody.”

Mr Bamber also spent many years enjoying the company of his beloved German Shepherd, Rinty.

Mr Bamber, who lived in Friary Court, in Burnley Road, is survived by his children, Catherine, Stephen, Chris, and Angela. He was also a grandfather of four, and a great-grandfather of four.

Donations can be sent to North West Air Ambulance, care of Hyndburn Funeral Services, Queens Road. Call 01254 233133.