Tributes paid to firefighter who helped tackle Windsor Castle blaze

James Harrison

Tributes have been paid to a former firefighter and grandfather who has died after more than 30 years service with the fire brigade.

Nicholas Jell, also known as Nicky, joined Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) aged just 21 and over the course of 29 years racked up numerous commendations, before being forced to quit the front line due to illness.

After this, he became the stores driver for RBFRS, delivering equipment to stations throughout Berkshire, where he was known to many simply as Nick the Driver.

After signing up as a retained firefighter in 1979, he attended hundreds of incidents, including a traffic accident in Hurley, in June 1988, for which his station commander at Maidenhead recognised his efforts to keep a man alive until paramedics could arrive.

And later that year he was also at a major high-rise fire at Brockway House, in Langley, in which he was injured and received a letter of thanks from Slough Borough Council.

And in 1992 he was among more than 200 firefighters who tackled the Windsor Castle fire.

At about the same time he stepped down as a firefighter, he also lost his job at the old Taylowe factory, in Furze Platt, and rejoined RBFRS as a stores driver.

Speaking about her husband, wife Tina said: “His life was family and the fire brigade.

“He would help anyone whenever he could and always put other peoples’ needs before his own.

“He was a fairly modest person, fairly quiet, but with those close to him he was also a bit of a joker.”

And this view was shared by Lincoln Ball, Maidenhead station manager, who knew Nicky for about 20 years as ‘someone who was always kind, always thoughtful and someone without a bad word to say about anyone’.

He died on Tuesday, August 9, aged 58, following a battle against skin cancer and is survived by his wife, Tina, two daughters and three grandchildren.

A funeral is due to be held on Wednesday afternoon at Slough Crematorium, in Stoke Road.

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