A giant of the fire service has been honoured at a special posthumous ceremony at the station he loved.
Mick Paull was an on-call firefighter and watch manager for more than 44 years at Odiham Fire Station even recruiting his son and son-in-law into the fold.
Senior officers and dozens of current and former firefighters from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service attended along with Mick’s family and friends.
Chief Fire Officer Neil Odin presented the family with a 45-year meritorious medal and unveiled a memorial plaque.
Mick’s daughter Linda L’Enfant said:
“I have been told that even as a child my dad was obsessed with fire engines and would watch them get called out and chase them down the road.
“His dad and his uncle were firefighters and his mum was involved in the fire service during the war so I think that was what gave him his passion.
“He loved the job and always gave it 100 percent and couldn’t understand how anyone could give it less.
“I hope he knew how well loved he was – he would have been overwhelmed by the fire service remembering him in this way.”
In addition to Linda’s husband Simon – who is known as Nellie – and Rob Paull, Mick’s son, more members of the family are looking to continue to join with Mick's 15-year-old grandson Jack hoping to sign up and be part of the firefighting dynasty.
Nellie and Rob are both now crew managers at the station.
Mick loved fire engines so much he was not content with just driving them at work he also bought his own fire appliance, a 1942 Austin.
His collection grew over until he became the proud owner of a fleet of five vintage fire appliances which he took to many shows and events.
The Fire Service Preservation Group also presented the family with a type of rose that had been named after the watch manager – and was white to reflect his helmet.
They had also had a star named after him as a present to his grandchildren.
About 80 people attended the event on Tuesday while hundreds turned out to pay their respects at his funeral.
Mick joined up in October 1973, aged 23, and remained until his death in an industrial accident in January this year.
CFO Odin said:
“Mick was a true legend - both to the fire service and to the people of Odiham.
“We are marking 45 years but to his family it must feel like 90 such was his commitment to the station.
“Mick upheld the finest traditions of the service and was a giant both in physical stature and in the respect he commanded from those around him.”
The plaque – that will take pride of place on station – states:
“In memory of WM Mick Paull (Sub0).
“A gentle giant with hands as big as his heart. Served this station and the community of Odiham… Forever leading from the front.”
Mick Paull's family and fire officers with plaque