Heavy hearts: Fire crews mourn loss of ‘really good bloke’
FIREFIGHTERS from Wardell Rural Fire Brigade will form a guard of honour when they farewell one of their own on Monday.
On July 17, Rex Kemp, 80, passed away at Lismore Base Hospital after a distinguished 30-year career in the Rural Fire Service.
Wardell RFS brigade captain, Ray Collyer, said Mr Kemp was "a great and gentle guy, a really good bloke".
Mr Collyer said the brigade would mourn the loss of Mr Kemp, who had been a magnificent mentor to many firefighters over the past three decades.
"I have known Rex all that time, he loved training and we did many courses together over the years," he said.
"Rex loved helping others rise through the ranks and he was renowned for the quality of his training and for mentoring younger people."
Mr Collyer said his mate joined the RFS around 1990.
"Rex rose through the ranks, he was deputy captain and senior deputy captain within three or four years," he said.
"Rex was group captain for Ballina Shire where he oversaw five brigades ‒ Wardell, Meerschaum Vale, Alstonville, Lennox and Newrybar ‒ for more than decade and he was regarded extremely well."
He was also a respected instructor with fire truck driving and chainsaw skills.
"Rex was adept at all teaching from basics though to group training," Mr Collyer said.
"Wardell RFS will form a guard of honour at Parkview Funeral Home and the Wardell tanker will escort the hearse to Lismore."
Following the service, a barbecue will be held at the Wardell Fire Station.
A simple message posted last week on the Wardell RFS Facebook page said: "It is with a heavy heart and a tear in my eye that I pass on the sad news that long time member and friend Rex Kemp has passed away tonight at Lismore Base Hospital.
"Our thoughts are with Linda and Barry and family at this sad time.
"Stand down Rex, your job is done. Rest In Peace old mate."
Mr Kemp's funeral service is on Monday, July 27, at 1pm at Parkview Funeral Home, Kalinga St, Ballina.