A CORK fire officer who passed away following a brief illness was honoured by colleagues with a guard of honour to mark his funeral mass today.
Cobh Fire Station Officer, Anthony Thurlby's funeral at Cobh Cathedral had limited numbers due to Covid restrictions.
His colleagues were determined to pay their respects safely and so formed a socially distanced guard of honour for the friend they described as a "thorough gentleman."
His colleague John Meade paid tribute to him this afternoon.
"Tony was a thorough gentleman who will be a huge loss to his family," Mr Meade said.
John said that Anthony had been with Cobh Fire Station for around 30 years before succumbing to a short illness.
"Tony and his wife Fiona had only been married two years. He adored his nephew Jack so much. Jack recently came in looking for his "Uncle Tony'" helmut as it was something he really wanted to hold on to."
Mr Meade recalled how Anthony had all the qualities important for working with the public.
"People are depending on you and you are depending on them," he said. "You have to be honest with the people around you. Tony was always hardworking and honest."
Anthony had started off working in the dockyards several decades ago before securing positions in Cobh Fire Station and as a local taxi driver.
"Tony worked as a taxi driver in the area but his commitment was always to the fire station. You never know when you are going to get a call. Sometimes Tony would sometimes have to ring someone to take over if he had people in the car."
The 57-year-old was popular in Cobh, particularly among elderly customers.
"Elderly people would often ring and book him because of his nature and manner. It made him ideal for the job."
Anthony's dedication to Cobh Fire Station never faded.
"Tony was constantly doing courses to help him improve in the job, whether they were to do with breathing apparatuses, chemical fires or road traffic accidents. He always wanted to know more."
Anthony will also be remembered for his sense of humour.
"He was a lovely guy. We never saw him in bad form. If there a joke going around he was always the first person to bring to it into the fire station."
Cork County Fire Service paid tribute to the late frontline worker in a post online.
Cork County Fire Service are deeply saddened by the loss of Station Officer Anthony Thurlby, Cobh Fire Station who passed away on the 4th February 2021 after a short illness. https://t.co/0cWd9p0uIR— Cork County Fire Service (@corkcountyfire) February 5, 2021
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. pic.twitter.com/t680cLOG3p
"Anthony was an outstanding Station Officer and an absolute gentleman and was greatly respected by all his colleagues throughout the Fire Service. He will be sorely missed by all of us who had the privilege of working with him and by the community in Cobh and the East Cork area that he served with pride for 30 years."
Anthony passed away peacefully at the home of his sister Sharon. He is also survived by his mother Joan and sister Carol.