Tributes paid to firefighter who died at age of 44
The fire service community and many people across Newark are in mourning for Graham McGuigan, who has died at the age of 44.
Graham, a married father-of-three, has been described as a proud member of Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, and served his home town of Newark for 19 years with Blue Watch at the town's fire station.
Graham died on Saturday after a long illness.
A charity fundraising page has been set up, as has a JustGiving page.
Colleagues in Blue Watch at London Road Fire Station in Nottingham have contributed £120 and a firefighter in East Sussex is among the donors to give anonymously.
On the Crowdfunding page, John Muggleton of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) in Nottinghamshire, who set up the page, wrote: "Graham was a highly regarded firefighter in Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and served on Blue watch at Newark Fire Station.
"He leaves behind a wife, Lesley, and his three sons. Everyone in the FBU sends Graham’s family, friends and colleagues our full solidarity and support at this very sad time.
"Due to his prolonged illness Lesley has not been at work for long periods.
"Our aim is to get a bit of money together so that she, and her three boys, can have a few things this Christmas.
"Local Fire Brigades Union officials are working with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to offer support to Graham's friends and colleagues.
"Please show your love and support for Graham's family and friends during this very difficult time."
Chief Fire Officer John Buckley said: "This is a very sad time for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.
“Graham was a proud and loyal firefighter and to have lost him, one of our own, is absolutely tragic.
“My thoughts are very much with his family, friends and colleagues, and as a service we have been, and will carry on, providing them with as much support as possible.”
A football match to honour Graham's life, the Graham McGuigan Memorial Shield, has been organised between his Blue Watch 'brothers' and Warriors FC, the youth side where Graham was a coach.
It will take place at Flowserve Sports and Social Club at Lowfields, Balderton, on Sunday, January 21 with a 1.30pm kick-off, with the bar opening at noon.
There will be a raffle and the money raised will go to the Fire Fighters Charity, of which Graham was a big supporter.
'He was a lifesaver and didn't deserve to die'
The manager for the Blue Watch side will be crew manager Daz Charters and, for the Warriors, Graham's long-term friend Matt Ridyard.
Within hours of the match being announced an offer was made to pay for kits, which will bear the name of McGuigan on the back.
Matt described Graham's death as heartbreaking and said his friend had three passions in life - his family, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, with whom he was proud to serve, and football.
"Graham was everyone's friend, an amazing husband, dad and son," Matt said.
"He was loved by everyone at Warriors.
"He was always smiling, never moaned, and was always there for you.
"He will be missed so much by everyone he came into contact with.
"He was a lifesaver and didn't deserve to die. He did so with grace."
Graham will have a full Brigade funeral that will take place at 10.45am on Thursday, December 14 at Newark Parish Church. Everyone is welcome.
The service will be followed by cremation at Ollerton.
There will then be a wake at The Ram.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Fire Fighters Charity, the Children's Bereavement Centre in Newark and Kidney Research UK through funeral directors E.Gill and Sons.
To donate on the charity fundraising page, click here.