A “BRILLIANT” fire chief who dedicated decades to serving the people of Hastings and St Leonards has died, aged 87.
Reginald Beaumont, known as Reg, was born in St Leonards in 1925 and served in the local fire service from the age of 15 until his retirement in 1982, except for a few years in the Navy during the Second World War.
He worked his way through the ranks and was the last chief fire officer for Hastings, before he oversaw the reorganisation of the service and became senior divisional commander.
He was at the forefront of tackling some of the town’s biggest blazes, including the 1972 Yelton Hotel fire during which Mr Beaumont and his team rescued 32 people, although three guests tragically died.
He also took charge of the 1976 fire in George Street which was particularly dangerous because of the threat of nearby gas canisters exploding, but in the end nobody was hurt.
Bill Farnfield, a former firefighter who worked with Mr Beaumont said: “He was a brilliant man - a real firemen’s fireman who loved to get inside jobs with his men and was always available to talk afterwards because that is how you learn.
“He loved nothing more than sitting down with his team during tea breaks and he was very popular and well-respected.
“His life and soul was the safety of Hastings and its people.”
Mr Beaumont moved to Yorkshire in 1998 but his son Mike said: “His heart was always in Hastings.”
“He was a very meticulous man who was very passionate about the fire brigade and he was a very supportive father,” he added.
Mr Beaumont is survived by his wife Dorothy, children Mike, Peter and Sue, seven grandchildren and one great grand child. His funeral will be held at Harrogate Crematorium at 1pm on Monday, June 13.