Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting KNEWS to 80360, or email
Hero fireman Jeff Naylor remembered 30 years on
Firefighters in Keighley are marking the 30th anniversary of the tragic death of one of their former colleagues following a house blaze.
Jeff Naylor suffered extensive burns when he and fellow crew members battled to rescue five children from a burning Ingrow home in April 1983. He died in hospital ten weeks later.
Now crew members at the Keighley station are planning several initiatives to remember father-of-two Jeff, who was just 31 when he died. He was the last fireman to die on active duty in West Yorkshire.
On April 27 – the exact anniversary of the Broomhill Walk fire, which claimed the lives of two children but from which three siblings survived – a remembrance service will be held at the Bradford Road station, and the fire appliance will be named after Jeff.
Special wristbands are also being produced in his honour, while in March car washes will be staged across the West Yorkshire brigade region, with proceeds being split between The Fire Fighters Charity and the burns unit at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, where Jeff was treated.
And people are being encouraged to use recycling banks outside the fire station, proceeds from which go to The Fire Fighters Charity.
“We are trying to boost the charity’s funds in memory of Jeff this year, and we would be extremely grateful if people would like to donate their unwanted clothes, shoes and books,” said firefighter Kelvin Steele.
Station commander, Andy Newman, said: “Jeff was the last fireman to die on active service in West Yorkshire, and although it was 30 years ago, he will not be forgotten.”
Among those who served on White Watch with Jeff was Cross Roads man Malcolm Pullen, 69, who retired from the brigade in 1998. “He was a real worker and was always first in there,” said Malcolm. “You could rely on him.
“We were all devastated when he died. You spend large parts of your week together and a close bond develops. I still get emotional now when I think about what happened.
“It was a very moving funeral service and so many people turned out.”
Thousands lined the streets as Jeff’s helmet-topped coffin was carried in procession on a fire engine through the town for a service at St Joseph’s Church. The burial was at Utley Cemetery.
The year after his death, Jeff was posthumously awarded the Queen’s commendation for bravery. It was collected by his then 11-year-old son, Mark.
The award was also presented to Jeff’s colleague Stephen Harrison, who suffered burns to his head and hands in the same rescue operation.