Hero’s send off for Hartlepool firefighter who served with dedication for decades

A retired firefighter who dedicated his life to saving others was given a hero’s send off.

Not only did Billy Constantine give more than 30 years dedicated service to Cleveland Fire Brigade, he was also a volunteer for Hartlepool RNLI.

The funeral of a retired firefighter - who was also a volunteer for the RNLI - Billy Constantine, at St John Vianney Church, Hartlepool. Picture: TOM BANKS

The funeral of a retired firefighter - who was also a volunteer for the RNLI - Billy Constantine, at St John Vianney Church, Hartlepool. Picture: TOM BANKS

Sadly, Billy passed away this month suddenly due to heart failure at the age of 66.

But, at his funeral, firefighters turned out to give him the send off he deserved.

Two fire engines joined the cortege when it passed by Hartlepool Fire Station on its way to St John Vianney church for the service on Friday.

Once, at the church they were met by a guard of honour from serving firefighters and crewmen also acted at pall bearers.

To honour him and his family in this way was the least we could do

Station Manager Kevin Harrison

Billy, who was born and raised in the West View area of the town, became a fireman almost straight from leaving school.

He remained with the Cleveland brigade for his entire career, reaching the rank of Sub Officer and retiring in his 50s.

His proud daughter, Rachel Constantine Magee, 40, said her dad never talked about his work, but when going through his belongings at his Headland home, the family found thank you and Christmas cards from the family of a three-year-old boy whose life he once saved.

She said: “There were a few cards from this family and he never told us anything about it, but he had kept the cards all these years.

The funeral of a retired firefighter - who was also a volunteer for the RNLI - Billy Constantine, at St John Vianney Church, Hartlepool. Picture: TOM BANKS

The funeral of a retired firefighter - who was also a volunteer for the RNLI - Billy Constantine, at St John Vianney Church, Hartlepool. Picture: TOM BANKS

“He was a hero. He volunteered for the RNLI, so as well as saving lives as a fireman during the day, he was out saving them at night at well.”

Rachel and her younger brother, Paul, 37, said they are very grateful to the fire brigade for making such an effort for their dad’s funeral.

She said: “Being a fireman was his life. We really appreciate the lengths the fire brigade went to for him.

“It is lovely to know he must have been so well thought of.”

Billy Constantine.

Billy Constantine.

Billy, who was known for his passion for motorbikes, also leaves behind three grandchildren.

Station Manager Kevin Harrison, said, the firemen were proud to take part in the funeral.

He said: “Billy gave some 30 years selfless service to Cleveland Fire Brigade and the whole community and to honour him and his family in this way was the least we could do at such a sad time.”

Billy Constantine in his fireman days with his children Rachel and Paul.

Billy Constantine in his fireman days with his children Rachel and Paul.

The funeral of a retired firefighter - who was also a volunteer for the RNLI - Billy Constantine, at St John Vianney Church, Hartlepool. Picture: TOM BANKS

The funeral of a retired firefighter - who was also a volunteer for the RNLI - Billy Constantine, at St John Vianney Church, Hartlepool. Picture: TOM BANKS

Billy Constantine who was a keen motorcycle rider.

Billy Constantine who was a keen motorcycle rider.

Billy Constantine with his children Rachel and Paul.

Billy Constantine with his children Rachel and Paul.

The funeral of a retired firefighter - who was also a volunteer for the RNLI - Billy Constantine, at St John Vianney Church, Hartlepool. Picture: TOM BANKS

The funeral of a retired firefighter - who was also a volunteer for the RNLI - Billy Constantine, at St John Vianney Church, Hartlepool. Picture: TOM BANKS