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Friends and family gather to remember former firefighter and "town legend"

PUBLISHED: 20:07 12 April 2019 | UPDATED: 20:09 12 April 2019

Tributes have been paid after the death of a “passionate” firefighter who was among those first on the scene at a blaze which devastated a north Norfolk town. Pictured, Mr Grand with his wife Tracy. Photo: Courtesy of Grand family

Tributes have been paid after the death of a "passionate" firefighter who was among those first on the scene at a blaze which devastated a north Norfolk town. Pictured, Mr Grand with his wife Tracy. Photo: Courtesy of Grand family

Archant

Mourners packed a funeral service to remember a former firefighter and "legend" who was among the first on the scene of one of the biggest fires in a town's history.

Friends and family gathered at Horsham St Faith’s Crematorium on Friday, April 12, to remember Ian Grand. Picture: ArchantFriends and family gathered at Horsham St Faith’s Crematorium on Friday, April 12, to remember Ian Grand. Picture: Archant

Ian John Grand died in his sleep at his home in Fakenham on March 26 at the age of 54, following a short battle with cancer.

He was among the first to arrive to tackle one of the biggest blazes Fakenham has ever seen on May 25, 2014, which devastated the Old Factory Shop in Upper Market Place, with fire crews acting heroically to prevent more damage to ensure no lives were lost.

His funeral was held at Horsham St Faith’s Crematorium on Friday, April 12, where friends and family gathered to pay their respects.

A short poem titled A Life Well Lived was read by his nephew Tom, before his daughter Gemma paid tribute to her father.

Mr Grand was among those first on the scene at a blaze which devastated the north Norfolk town of Fakenham in 2014. Photo: Courtesy of Grand familyMr Grand was among those first on the scene at a blaze which devastated the north Norfolk town of Fakenham in 2014. Photo: Courtesy of Grand family

She said: “We always had our dad’s love.

“Ian and [my mum] Tracy had their first date at the Holt disco. The love that they had for each other was so strong that they could make it through anything.

“He worked so hard throughout the whole of his life and had an array of jobs. He really came into his own working at Fakenham Junior School, it was the start of the Fakenham legend we know today.

“He joined the fire service in 2007 and absolutely loved it. He never moaned about coming back to his cold dinners or waking up in the middle of the night.

Ian John Grand, 54, died in his sleep at home in Fakenham after a brief battle with cancer. Pictured, Mr Grand with his two daughters Gemma and Chloe and his wife Tracy. Photo: Courtesy of Grand familyIan John Grand, 54, died in his sleep at home in Fakenham after a brief battle with cancer. Pictured, Mr Grand with his two daughters Gemma and Chloe and his wife Tracy. Photo: Courtesy of Grand family

“He was so happy helping others and doing a good job.”

Mr Grand grew up in Briston and Woodfield and started as caretaker at Fakenham Junior School in 2002.

Following that, he went to work at City College and Fakenham Academy and only retired as a retained firefighter last year.

Gary Thorpe, a watch manager for Norfolk Fire Service who worked with Mr Grand, also spoke at the funeral and said: “One of the first things I remember about Ian was his easy-going nature and I thought he would fit in really well at Fakenham.

“It was clear from the outset that he was really passionate about being a firefighter. On the day of the Fakenham fire he did the job with the efficiency and professionalism that we had come to expect from Ian.”

Donations to the Fire Fighters Charity can be made in Ian’s name c/o Lloyd Durham, Avenue Road, High Kelling, NR25 6RD or at www.northnorfolkfuneralservices.co.uk.

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