AN EX-FIREFIGHTER described by loved ones as "one of life's great characters" received a well-deserved guard of honour on the way to his final resting place.

Firefighters stood in solemn silence as the hearse of Mick Turner drove through Swindon Fire Station and onto the Magic Roundabout, with ambulance crews stopping traffic to let his family make their way to Kingsdown Crematorium for a moving service.

Mick's son-in-law Carl Humphries said: "It was absolutely phenomenal, a really amazing and touching thing for all of us to see. Mick always had a story to tell, a smile on his face and an infectious laugh.

"He liked talking about the time he helped the Rolling Stones get to a gig after their van broke down in Shrivenham - I interviewed Bill Wyman about that gig and he remembered Mick coming to the rescue and fitting all of the band and all their equipment in his green and cream taxi, then paying him with a teabag because they had no money at the time.

"Mick had so many jobs - he was a retainer firefighter from 1971 to 1976 and from 1978 to 1992, he worked with British Rail and passed a test to drive steam trains but then the diesel ones came in and he didn't want to drive those so he became a lorry driver. We're a very close family but we didn't expect so many people to turn up yesterday- there were 100 people in the Moonrakers, which used to be his local when he was a boy, for the wake and even more at the service."

Mick Turner died on January 24 peacefully at home surrounded by family at the age of 78, exactly one month after he received a terminal cancer diagnosis.

He is survived by his wife Sylvia, his four sisters, his two daughters Karen and Kerry, his four grandchildren Steven, Aaron, Rhys and Anoushka, and his great-granddaughter Ella.

Doris Connolly stopped on her way to the supermarket to watch the guard of honour. She said: “It’s wonderful that they honour one of their own in this way. As soon as I saw them stop the traffic, I knew what was going on and had to watch, it was lovely.”