A firefighting hero has died aged 86

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A man who dedicated his life to fighting fires and saving the lives of others, has died aged 86.

Donald Bakes died on December 3 in the Macmillan Ward at Bridlington Hospital.

Born and educated in Bradford, Mr Bakes joined the West Riding Fire Service after leaving the Royal Navy in 1955. Initially he was stationed at Bingley and Pudsey Fire Stations, but gained promotion to Station Officer and moved to Morley in 1963 where he spent most of his career, living with his wife, Brenda and son, Paul.

During his time at Morley, Mr Bakes attended a number of notable incidents, including the Morley Town Hall fire, many mill fires and he was the first Fire Officer on the scene at the M62 coach bomb disaster in 1974.

As an officer, Mr Bakes worked through the Fire Brigade Unions strike in the 1970s, co-ordinating the Army Green Goddess Fire Engines and their inexperienced crews to incidents in and around Morley. In one notable incident, he prevented an army crew from entering a blazing mill just as the wooden floor collapsed.

During his time at Morley Fire Station he studied and gained an Open University Degree, which helped him gain promotion to the rank of Assistant Divisional Officer prior to his retirement in 1985.

Mr Bakes and his wife moved to Bridlington in 2005.

Son Paul said: “People who knew him will remember him as true gentleman who always put other people before himself.”

Mr Bakes he died peacefully at Bridlington Hospital on December 3 with his family at his side.

The funeral service and cremation will take place on Monday, December 14, at noon at the East Riding Crematorium, Octon, East Yorkshire.