FIREFIGHTERS from three Lake District stations paid tribute to a well-respected former colleague who has died aged 76.

Mourners gathered at St Mary’s Church, Windermere, to remember the town’s retired fire station officer, Douglas Harris.

His family have thanked the fire crews of Windermere, Ambleside and Staveley for taking part in the funeral, which included an appearance by Windermere’s fire engine.

They also thanked the St John’s Hospice staff, Macmillan nurses, friends and family who attended, among them Mr Harris’s 97-year-old mother Maisie, who lives in Millom with daughter Pauline.

Back in 1991 Mr Harris featured in BBC documentary Windermere’s Burning, which showed how two-thirds of England’s fire stations were manned by retained firefighters. It featured Mr Harris going about his daily life as a mechanic, in anticipation of the next call-out.

A fireman for 33 years, he died peacefully at home at Springfield Road after a long illness with cancer.

Born in Langdale on October 6, 1942, he and wife Sylvia spent their married life in Windermere.

The couple met through Sylvia’s brother, Alan, who worked at Smiths garage on College Road with Douglas.

They shared a love of rock-and-roll dancing in Blackpool and Southport.

Mr Harris was a motorbikes and bus enthusiast. His jobs included driver for bus company Ribble and tour companies Mountain Goat and Supertours, and Royal Mail mechanic.

He became a retained fireman aged 18, in 1960, and retired at 51 after an accident in the service.

Mr Harris loved spending time with his grandchildren on projects such as making sandpits and or a go-kart from an old lawnmower engine.

A keen gardener and grower of potatoes and vegetables, he enjoyed bus rallies and Cumbria Steam Gathering in Flookburgh. He made wheelbarrows and windmills from recycled wood, selling them for Manchester’s Christies cancer hospital.

He also found time to do up an old Morris Minor car, and kept a char-fishing boat named Honey, after the family dog.