THE family of an “inspirational”

former firefighter have paid tribute to him after he died on holiday.

Geoffrey Bowes, aged 76, passed away suddenly on September 9 while in Turkey with his wife, Julie, and friends Ron and Betty Howarth.

Mrs Bowes, aged 71, said: “Everyone has spoken of him so highly.

He was a man of great integrity, he would always do the right thing.”

Mr Bowes was born in Great Lever in 1935 and started his working life as a miner, but always said fate led him to join the fire service.

And aged 28 he changed careers and became a huge success in the service, studying after every call-out to pass his exams and rise to the rank of station officer at the Crompton Way fire station.

Mrs Bowes said: “When he joined the fire service he was really excited because he thought it was a chance to be of service and make a secure future for his family.”

During his career he saved numerous lives, and at home was a stickler for safety, making sure his two children, Carol and Peter, unplugged every appliance before they went to bed to avoid accidents.

A committed family man, he sold his orange VW Beetle to pay for Carol’s first term at Lords Independent School.

A lifelong animal-lover, Mr Bowes became a vegetarian at the age of 25.

His daughter, Carol, said: “Everybody says what a wonderful, good man he was. His passion was the Lake District — dad and his fire service friends would plan walks into the hills there.”

Mr Bowes has left instructions for his ashes to be scattered at Innominate Tarn on Haystacks, in the Lake District, where the ashes of the renowned walker and writer Alfred Wainwright are also scattered.

He retired aged 55 and spent his retirement gardening with Mrs Bowes and visiting their caravan in Capernwray. In 1996 he was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, but refused to let it get him down, remaining active until the end.

Mr Bowes is also survived by five grandchildren, Lucy, Isabelle, Cameron, Eleanor and Jessica.

The funeral will take place at West Chapel, Overdale, at 2.30pm tomorrow