It is with great sadness we confirm the passing of Kevin Pearson, Chief Fire Officer of Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS).
He joined Avon Fire & Rescue Service in 1994 as a Divisional Officer and became one of the youngest Chief Fire Officers in the country when he was appointed to the role in August 2001.
He had worked in the fire and rescue service for 37 years, joining as a Firefighter at Cleveland Fire Brigade in 1980. From there he worked in a number of roles before joining Oxfordshire Fire Brigade. At the time of his death he was the longest serving fire chief in the United Kingdom
Interim Chief Fire Officer Mick Crennell said: “This desperately sad news has come as a total shock to all of us at Avon Fire & Rescue Service. Kevin was an experienced and capable Chief Fire Officer who was respected and held in extremely high regard by his staff and those who knew him.
“Although we have been aware for some time that Kevin was battling serious illness his sudden passing has come as a huge shock to all his family, friends and staff at Avon Fire & Rescue Service.
“Words are of little comfort at such a terribly sad time, but we hope his partner Erica and his family will be able to take strength that so many at AF&RS have them in their thoughts at this time.
“The role of Chief Fire Officer is demanding and all encompassing. As the longest serving Chief in the country it truly was a testament to his ability, character and conviction that he held the post for so many years.
“Although I didn’t know Kevin personally, I know from those who worked closely with him he was a man of huge strength of character who had the support and respect of his staff. He achieved a great deal and must take credit for all that is good about Avon Fire & Rescue Service.”
Kevin’s family have released the following tribute.
“Kevin Pearson was a much-loved family man who was adored by us all.
“We, his fiancée, his sons, and devoted step-children, his mother and his two brothers are totally distraught by the unexpected death of our beloved Kevin.
“He was a kind and generous man who was happier than he has ever been and the fact that his life has been so cruelly cut short has left us all so very, very sad.”
Kevin Pearson was also a trustee for The Gambia and Avon Fire Services in Partnership (GAFSIP) charity and in 2013 received the Member of the Republic of The Gambia (MRG) honour, an award rarely given to non-Gambian nationals. He was also a trustee for the Fleur Lombard Bursary and the President of Avon Fire & Rescue Service’s Pensioners Association.
Staff across Avon Fire & Rescue Service will observe a minute’s silence at 17.00hrs today (Monday 6 November) in memory of the Chief Fire Officer.
The funeral service of Chief Fire Officer Kevin Pearson will be taking place on Thursday 14 December, at 11.15am, at South Bristol Crematorium, Bridgewater Road, Bristol, BS13 7AS.
At the wishes of both Kevin and his family, this will be an Avon only based fire and rescue service funeral.
Kevin’s family’s wish is to see as many Avon Fire & Rescue Service staff (serving or past members) as possible in attendance on the day. Any staff who would like to attend the service to provide a guard of honour are welcome to do so.
Uniformed staff are requested to wear full fire kit. Officers are requested to wear undress uniform