A GUARD of honour was formed for a veteran former firefighter who died at the age of 67.

Former colleagues of James Kenyon, who served with Red Watch for 32 years, stood in respectful silence as his coffin arrived at Blackburn Cathedral. Mr Kenyon died after battling cancer.

A lone piper heralded the arrival of Fireman 45, known as Jim, at the front door.

Jim, of Openshaw Drive, Blackburn, was known for his sense of fun and later worked for Co-op funeral services, where his job was kept open, despite his ill health.

His widow Carol, who he met aged 16, said: “He was a salt of the earth man and it’s been really nice to see what everyone has done for him.” He had two sons, Gordon and Graham, and a grand-daughter, Hannah.

He was a Past Master of St Aidan’s Masonic Lodge, a keen fisherman, animal lover and a member of East Lancs Radio Club.

Chris Norse, retired station commander, said: “Jim was a truly professional firefighter who showed courage and bravery at all times.”

Dave Best, a fellow Mason, added: “Jim was always ready to help where he could, serving the lodge faithfully and diligently.”

The cathedral service was followed by interment at Pleasington and a gathering for family and friends at the Hare and Hounds in Lammack Road.