Thousands line streets as funeral for hero firefighter takes place

Barry Martin died after sustaining injuries while tackling a blaze at the former Jenners building in Edinburgh.

Thousands have lined the Royal Mile in Edinburgh to pay tribute to a firefighter who died after tackling a blaze at a former department store.

Barry Martin, 38, from Fife, died on January 27 after sustaining serious injuries while fighting a blaze at the Jenners building on Princes Street four days prior.

On Friday, Mr Martin’s funeral procession made its way to St Giles Cathedral, with mourners gathered to pay their final respects to the hero firefighter.

It began its journey at the McDonald Road Fire Station, where the father-of-two was based as part of the Blue Watch.

The Blue Watch in all of the capital’s fire stations was stood down in order for staff to attend the funeral.

Pallbearers carried the coffin, with Mr Martin's helmet on top, into St Giles Cathedral. STV News

Flags were lowered to half mast and there were tears in the eyes of the crowds lining the street, as a fire engine carrying Mr Martin’s coffin arrived.

Hundreds of firefighters in full uniform lined the street, paying tribute to one of their own, as crowds started filing into the cathedral an hour before the funeral.

Tear-filled eyes watched the funeral procession, as firefighters paid tribute to one of their own. STV News

Ahead of the service, Mr Martin’s wife Shelley remembered him as a “motivated” man who was “driven” to be a firefighter.

She said: “Barry was motivated, proud, and driven to be the best he could be, for himself, for his family, for his colleagues, and for the community and wider public.

Mr Martin is survived by his wife, Shelley, and their sons Oliver and Daniel. STV News

“Being there for people, during their time of greatest need, meant everything to him in his career.”

Mrs Martin said her husband was a devoted father to their two sons, eight-year-old twins Oliver and Daniel, and said she was “utterly privileged” to be his wife.

He was described as a 'loving and attentive father' by Mrs Martin. SFRS

“Our sons could not have wished for a more loving and attentive father. He was a busy dad, transporting our sons to their various activities, and being there for them,” she said.

“I felt utterly privileged to be his wife throughout our life together and always will. Our love, admiration and respect for him will last forever.”

The dad-of-two died after tackling a blaze at Jenners in Edinburgh. SFRS

Mr Martin was the first Scottish firefighter to die in the line of duty since Ewan Williamson, who died after being injured in Edinburgh in 2009.

Earlier this week, fire and rescue services across the UK fell silent as they held a minute’s silence in his honour.

The silence echoed amid the earthquake disaster area of Turkey, where firefighters from the UK International Search and Rescue Team stopped to pay tribute to their fallen colleague.

Earlier this week, thousands of firefighters across the UK held a minute's silence in Mr Martin's honour. SFRS

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service interim chief officer Ross Haggart described Mr Martin as “a much-loved husband, father, son and friend to many.

“His Blue Watch colleagues and the wider service will ensure that Barry’s selfless duty will never be forgotten.”

MSPs, including Alex Cole-Hamilton, have called for Mr Martin to be posthumously awarded the George Cross, an accolade which dates back to 1940 and recognises acts of extreme bravery carried out by civilians.

Barry was one of 100 firefighters who rushed to the blaze at the historic former Jenners department store.STV News

The City of Edinburgh Council last week paid tribute during a full meeting by observing a minute’s silence.

Lord Provost Robert Aldridge offered heartfelt condolences, commending “the immense bravery and selflessness of those in our emergency services – putting their lives on the line day in, day out to keep us safe”.

Mr Martin was laid to rest on Friday. SFRS
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