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Tributes paid after death of 'passionate' firefighter first on scene of huge Fakenham blaze

PUBLISHED: 10:44 04 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:52 05 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

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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.

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

Ian John Grand, 54, died in his sleep at home in Fakenham after a brief battle with cancer.

The former firefighter was described by his family as a “passionate” man who would go out of his way to “help anyone”.

He was among the first firefighters on the scene to tackle Fakenham’s biggest fire in living memory on May 25, 2014, which devastated one of the town’s most historic and recognisable buildings, in Upper Market Place.

Firefighters were widely praised for preventing further damage and ensuring no lives were lost.

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

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

He left in 2014 as site manager, responsible for IT.

His daughter, Gemma Grand, 27, said: “He was an integral part of the school.”

Mr Grand went to work at City College and Fakenham Academy.

Ian Grand was amongst the first firefighters at the scene to tackle Fakenham's biggest fire in living memory in May, 2014.  PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYIan Grand was amongst the first firefighters at the scene to tackle Fakenham's biggest fire in living memory in May, 2014. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

He became a retained firefighter in 2007, and retired in 2018.

Miss Grand added: “We received a letter after dad passed away from the chief fire officer, just saying how great he was.

“Dad was the driver of the first fire engine at the scene at the Fakenham fire four years ago.”

Mr Grand encouraged businesses to donate to the fire service’s appeal for blaze bears - teddies given to children trapped in vehicles.

Ian Grand was amongst the first firefighters at the scene to tackle Fakenham's biggest fire in living memory in May, 2014.  PHOTO: Mandie Vertigan.Ian Grand was amongst the first firefighters at the scene to tackle Fakenham's biggest fire in living memory in May, 2014. PHOTO: Mandie Vertigan.

“He was so passionate about it,” his daughter added.

“I think if he had his time again he would have loved to have done that from the get go, or to have been a paramedic.

“He just loved helping people and he would speak to anyone.

“He was on the town council.

“There was a lady in a wheelchair on our road and he lent her our television. He fixed everyone’s computers.”

She added: “We bought all the parts and built my first desktop computer together from scratch - we loved doing things like that.”

Mr Grand met his wife Tracy, 51, from Baconsthorpe, at a disco in Holt aged 18, and the couple got married in 1987.

“They were always very much in love,” Miss Grand said.

“They loved doing everything together and made friends wherever they went.”

The family also enjoyed regular holidays to Crete, with Miss Grand’s sister Chloe, 24.

Mr Grand’s funeral will be held at Horsham St Faith’s Crematorium on Friday, April 12, 2019 at 4.15pm. Donations in his name can be made to the Fire Fighters Charity, c/o Lloyd Durham, Avenue Road, High Kelling, NR25 6RD or at www.northnorfolkfuneralservices.co.uk

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