Flag flies at half-mast following death of veteran firefighter

Blackpool Fire Station lowered its flag to half-past following the news of Richard's death
Blackpool Fire Station lowered its flag to half-past following the news of Richard's death

A veteran firefighter and loving husband and dad has died after a fight with cancer.

Richard Metcalfe, who was stationed at Fleetwood Fire Station for 21 years before moving to South Shore, passed away on Monday, his wife Maxine said.

Firefighters and staff from the Kings Arms in Garstang hand over money raised in a football match and auction to Trinity Hospice.  Pictured L-R are station manager Colin Hickson, Maxine Metcalfe, Renee Metcalfe and Emma Padgett from Trinity Hospice

Firefighters and staff from the Kings Arms in Garstang hand over money raised in a football match and auction to Trinity Hospice. Pictured L-R are station manager Colin Hickson, Maxine Metcalfe, Renee Metcalfe and Emma Padgett from Trinity Hospice

The 47-year-old had been battling sarcoma, a rare condition that affects around one in every 100 cancer patients, for the past 12 months.

“We are still in shock,” Maxine said this afternoon. “It’s horrendous.”

A funeral service will now take place at Carleton Crematorium at 12.15pm on Wednesday, December 28, before a celebration of Richard’s life is held in the Parkside Suite at Fleetwood Town FC.

His former colleagues are expected to act as pall-bearers, while the Union flag at Blackpool Fire Station, in Forest Gate, was lowered to half-mast earlier this week.

Maxine, of Little Acre in Thornton, said her husband of 22 years would not want flowers or donations to charity in his memory – and will instead ask mourners to spend their money at the bar.

She added: “I know he would want people to have a drink for him.”

Richard was diagnosed in January after going to A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital with a lump in his stomach.

In March, he underwent surgery to remove a tumour weighing 19lbs and considered going back to work during the summer when later tests showed no signs of cancer.

But in August, doctors discovered another tumour growing on his spine, and said there was nothing more they could do.

Richard’s colleagues rallied around him, raising thousands of pounds for Trinity Hospice in his honour through a charity football match and Halloween coffee morning.

Station manager Colin Hickson described him as a ‘gentle giant’ who would go out of his way to help others, but ‘let you know if you are pushing the line’.

Speaking earlier this month, he said: “He is one of life’s good guy, a family man who dotes on his wife and kids.”