HUNDREDS of people attended St Ann's Church today, Sunday July 13,
to remember Firefighter Stephen Hunt, who lost his life fighting a
fire in Manchester City Centre.
Stephen was part of a team of firefighters responding to a fire in
Paul's Hair World, Oldham Street on Saturday July 13, 2013.
Family, friends, colleagues and the public joined together to mark
the anniversary of Stephen's during a poignant service at 2pm.
The service was led by the Rector of St Ann's The Reverend Nigel
Ashworth with tributes to Stephen read by County Fire Officer Steve
McGuirk, Stephen's Watch Manager, Neil Helmrich and his daughter
Readings were heard by Lord Lieutenant JP Warren Smith, Greater
Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority Chairman, Councillor David
Acton and Stephen's Step-Father Wilf Veevers.
Stephen's Watch Manager, Neil Helmrich, said: "We have gathered to
remember one person Stephen Alan Hunt a man who loved life, loved
the fire service, but most importantly loved his family.
"I'd like to say four words from all of Blue Watch Philips Park -
he was a good man."
Earlier in the day firefighters from Philips Park Fire Station
marked the anniversary at a private ceremony during which a stone
commemorating Stephen's sacrifice was laid in the ground of the
The stone was recovered from the building on Oldham Street where
Stephen fell and has been restored to create a permanent memorial
at the station.
A bench created by students from Manchester College has been placed
next to the stone. The bench incorporates fire fighting equipment
and is the colour of Sweet Williams - flowers of gallantry.
County Fire Officer Steve McGuirk said: "We have been absolutely
overwhelmed - the level of public support we have received since
Stephen's death has been fantastic.
"On the plaque outside Philip's Park Fire Station there are two
names of firefighters who have lost their lives, but thankfully
these events are very rare.
"It's a timely reminder that the fire service put their lives on
the line for the communities they serve day in and day out."