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.

Saturday, 10th March 2018, 8:00 am
Updated Saturday, 10th March 2018, 10:15 am

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

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

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

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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.

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

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 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.

“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.”

Billy Constantine.

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

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

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.”

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 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
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.
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
Billy Constantine who was a keen motorcycle rider.
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