TRIBUTES have been paid to a former firefighter who bravely battled against cancer long enough to see the birth of his great grand-daughter.

Local firefighters formed a guard of honour to pay their respects to George 'John' Salter at Weeley Crematorium on Thursday.

Fire engines escorted the hearse to the funeral service.

John was diagnosed with prostate cancer more than seven years ago and told he had just 18 months to live.

In August 2016 he was given just a few months to live but when given the news of the impending birth of his great grand-daughter last July, he was determined to meet her and fought on for over a year to fulfil his wish.

John was born in 1932 and had a career initially in the RAF working on Lancaster Bombers.

He married wife June in 1952 and went on to work in the building trade for his father-in-law.

His father in law then encouraged him to join the fire brigade and be closer to his one and only true love.

The couple had to two daughters, Janet and Jacqueline.

John went on to enjoy a successful career as a fireman, safety officer and station officer, working at both the Clacton and Colchester stations.

He was a very highly regarded officer who played an important role in saving Clacton pier in the fire of 1973, which destroyed the Steel Stella rollercoaster.

John was involved in a serious accident when working at Clacton fire station which involved falling from a hook ladder.

He was taken to Colchester Hospital with injuries to his neck and spine which left him in a coma.

When he came to, he had memory loss and it took some time before he was even able to remember his family.

The doctors told him it would be some time before he could even walk, but he was determined to get home and be with his family, so he defeated the odds, got up and walked out of the hospital to get home.

John took some months to recover before returning to the fire service.

He left the service in 1981 and enjoyed a leisurely retirement in Little Clacton taking part in activities such as the local shooting club, sequence dancing and holidaying with his wife.

John would spend many days at his beach hut in Holland-on-Sea with his grandchildren where he would recall memories of sailing and fishing along the coastline when he was younger.

John passed away at Little Holland Hall on April 17. He leaves a daughter, three grand-children and a great-grandchild.