Crew Commander Brian Liggett dedicated 28 years of his life responding to emergency incidents in the area.
And after his death recently, Watch Commander Roy Crozier has spoken of the colleague who will be ‘sorely missed’ by all at Banbridge Fire Station.
The retained firefighter passed away peacefully at his Banbridge home on August 10, with family by his side.
“You give up so much of your spare time for the work as a retained firefighter,” said WC Crozier, “but for Brian the job was a labour of love”.
CC Liggett first served for over 10 years in Rathfriland station, before transferring to Banbridge for a further 15 years.
During his time he was awarded two Queen’s medals and a long service/good conduct medal for completing 20 years with merit.
He was fully committed to the job he loved, right up until a tough diagnosis forced him to stand down two years ago.
“Brian was a hard-working family man and was well respected by everyone,” said WC Crozier.
“He was a very pleasant lad, very easy to get along with. I will miss him for I’ve known him for a long time - around 30 years and even before we started as firefighters, we used to work together in Fred Elliott butchers.
“We have attended so many major incidents together over the years, but always Brian treated each one in a very professional manner.”
The crew at Banbridge station are close-knit and have felt the loss deeply.
“It’s like one big family for us all here. There are people out there depending on our boys for their lives at times, and dealing with situations like that brings us all closer together,” said WC Crozier.
“Everyone attended his funeral and it shows just what he meant to everyone here - he will be very sorely missed by all the crew from Banbridge.”
As a retained firefighter, Brian also was employed at a local care home.
“Brian was very much involved in anything to do with the caring of others,” said WC Crozier.
“He was also involved in fire safety aspects - such as fitting smoke alarms for the elderly, and he was happy to give his spare time to do that. He was very community-minded.”
Paying a tribute on behalf of St John Ambulance Banbridge, Elizabeth Hudson said: “It was an honour and a privilege to work with him. God Bless RIP from all your friends at St John Ambulance.”
Others also paid tribute.
Darren Butler said: “Rest well brother your duty here is done” and Neill Mcmullan: “Never a dull moment with Brian.” Ian Simms said: “Worked with Brian in Newry many years ago, a real gent.”
Paul Steen said: “Rest peacefully my dear friend. Fond memories will live on amongst us all. Till we meet again mate!”
Messages of sympathy were posted on Ireland’s Bravest Firefighters social media page.
Richard Johnston posted: “Thanks for mentioning our colleague and friend Brian on his passing, real character about the station and will be missed.”
Margaret Rush said: “Now these are the people who I call ‘legends’ not pop stars or footballers. I didn’t know Brian but he would have saved my life if I needed him and his colleagues. I’m so, so sorry for the family’s loss.”
Pamela Bicker-Glass said: “He was a fighter to the end.” John Smyth said: “Very sorry to hear about Brian, he was a great friend to me when we worked together in Rathfriland.”
A service for CC Liggett was held on August 12 in Bannside Presbyterian Church, followed by burial in Acton Parish Cemetery, Poyntzpass. Donations in lieu of flowers, if desired for Newry Hospice or Marie Curie can be sent c/o Stephen Fitzpatrick, Funeral Directors, 51 Downpatrick Street, Rathfriland, BT34 5DQ.
He is survived by partner Laura, children Jenna, Chris, Jason, Lacey and Ella-Rose, mother Helen and father Kenneth.