Bernard John Lewis, or Bernie, as he was known served for 12 years as a firefighter with Avon Fire Brigade.
Bernie moved to Kingswood station in 1970, from Cirencester station, in Gloucestershire where he served with the brigade there (having originally been at Cheltenham station).
Kingswood station was operated on a day-manning basis originally, so like many others serving nearby, would often dash down the road in the middle of the night when his bleeper sounded.
He attended some major incidents in his time at Kingswood, most notably when he co-crewed the Kingswood foam tender to the Milford Haven oil refinery fire in 1983. Sadly, the foam tender was a victim of the fire and it spent a good number of weeks in the Brigade workshops.
Bernie was assigned to most watches at Kingswood, with the exception of Red Watch. He served with the brigade until his retirement in April 1986 when he had completed a total 23 years of firefighting service.
Following his career in the brigade, he undertook various jobs including work as a driver for a rental car company, a travel courier for a tour company in Bath and with the Corps of Commissioners.
He kept a keen interest in the fortunes of the brigade and recognised the importance of the camaraderie he formed with colleagues. He returned to visit the Kingswood Station after its refurbishment in 2015.
Bernie spent his retirement doing the things he loved including enjoying the sunshine, going for coffee with friends, looking after and walking the neighbour’s dog and spending time with his wife and family. He moved to West Sussex, with family in 2018 in order to look after his wife, Maureen, after she was taking ill whilst on holiday there.
He was diagnosed with bowel cancer in late 2018 and spent the remainder of his time at Care for Veterans Nursing Home in Worthing until he passed away in May 2019 at the age of 87.
At his memorial service at Chichester Crematorium, representatives from Chichester Fire Station’s ‘B’ watch (WSFRS) attended to form a Guard of Honour for him.
Bernard is survived by his wife, Maureen, sons Chris and Matt, daughter-in-law Jo and granddaughter Jessica.
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