TRIBUTES have been paid to a former firefighter who died on Boxing Day.
Angelo Errigo, 66, was described as a pillar of the community who was loved and respected by all who knew him.
Mr Errigo’s wife Jackie and the couple’s two children, Bianca, 24, and Angelo Junior, 20, were at his bedside when he died.
Jackie said her husband loved living in his adopted home town of Eastbourne and, despite his ill health, continued to help people.
She said: ‘He was strong, spirited and coped with courage and fortitude.’
Born in Fareham to an Italian family, Mr Errigo grew up in Hampshire and was originally a cadet with the City of Portsmouth Police before joining London Fire Brigade in 1974 and serving at various stations across the capital.
He went on to forge a distinguished career in the fire service in Gloucestershire, Surrey and Dumfries and Galloway brigades and roles included training officer, fire services inspectorate and deputy chief officer.
It was while Mr Errigo was working at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service as a press officer in the 1980s that he met Jackie, a journalist, and the couple moved to Eastbourne in 2006 where he set up his own health and fire safety consultancy.
He enjoyed cooking Italian food for family and friends, cycling and walking holidays.
Mr Errigo was diagnosed with cancer two years ago and recovered, but the disease returned shortly before Christmas.
His nephew James Errigo, who is a firefighter at Southsea Fire Station, said: ‘He was quite a character.
‘Everybody was always asking after him and telling me stories about his time in the fire service.
‘He was a massive family man and will be massively missed. He loved cooking and his food.’
Christina Ewbank at the Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce said: ‘Such a lovely man, Angelo will be hugely missed by us all.’
Jerry Leonard, group manager at Hampshire Fire and Rescue, said: ‘I worked with Angelo during his time in what was then called C Division (central Hampshire) and then when he moved to St Mary’s station in Southampton.
‘Angelo was a serious character and it was quite a shock to the system for us when he came down from London.
‘He was a very funny, warm guy, a real go-getter, and it’s extremely sad to hear the news about him.’
Mr Errigo’s funeral will be held on Friday, January 20, at 11am at All Saint’s Church, Grange Road, Eastbourne and afterwards at the International Tennis Centre in Devonshire Park.