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8:34am Thursday 28th July 2011 in Obituaries
Former fire station commander Tony Hilliar, who was involved in fighting some of the Marlborough’s major blazes over a period of more than 30 years, has died in hospital just days after his 68th birthday.
He had contracted pneumonia.
Both Mr Hilliar and his two brothers, Peter and the late David, followed their father Dennis into the fire service. However Tony Hilliar served by far the longest and rose from fire fighter to station officer during his 33-year career in the part time retained service.
In the New Year’s Honours in 1995 he was awarded an MBE for his services to the fire brigade and the community.
Mr Hilliar, who worked as a school laboratory technician at Marlborough College and for a spell at the former Grammar School, led from the front, said former colleague George Johnson.
Mr Johnson, formerly second in command at the Marlborough fire station, said: “Tony was a good station officer, well respected by the crews because he would always lead the way and he was always there to help anyone who needed it.”
Former Wiltshire Chief Fire Officer John Craig said: “His exemplary service fully merited the sovereign’s award of the MBE, an honour that is very rarely bestowed upon a member of the retained fire and rescue service.”
Mr Hilliar was born and brought up in Marlborough where his family were market gardeners and ran two greengrocery shops.
He joined the fire service in 1963 and was promoted to leading fireman in December 1975, to sub officer in July 1982 and to station officer in July 1985.
In 1983 he received a long service medal and also a special award for exceptional service from the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire. He retired from the service in 1996.
Mr Hilliar is survived by his wife Christine, son Nigel, granddaughter Poppy and sister Anthea.
The funeral is on Monday, 1.30pm, at St Mary’s Church and at Mr Hilliar’s own request there will be “no fuss” or fire brigade guard of honour. Cremation will follow at 3pm at Kingsdown.
Family flowers only with donations to either the Neptune Ward at Great Western Hospital where he spent the last five weeks of his life or to SWIFT Medics care of funeral director Dianne Mackinder, Wagon Yard, London Road, Marlborough SN8 1LH.