Tribute paid to beloved firefighter and family man

A man smiling in his firefighter's uniform

Michael Arlow, Known as Paddy, was a retained firefighter at Fakenham Station for more than 29 years. - Credit: Heather Goward

Tributes have been paid to a well-known firefighter and family man.

Michael Arlow, from Fakenham, died on January 20 at the age of 81.

Known to many as Paddy, he was a retained firefighter at Fakenham Station for more than 29 years.

Born in Wighton on May 8, 1939, Paddy grew up as an only child with his mother and his uncles who lived nearby.

Paddy went to Wighton Primary School and later to the Alderman Peel school in Wells. From an early age, he had a love of football, playing over the years for Wighton, Briston and Fakenham.

When he left school, Paddy went to work for RC Edmondson as an apprentice in the tractor workshop.

In March 1959 Paddy was called up by the Army's Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Corps for his National Service. He had to make the long journey from home to Blandford in Dorset for eight weeks of ‘square bashing’, which is military drill performed repeatedly on a barrack square.

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He was sent for a driving course and then became a Major Generals driver.

His last posting to Hounslow had the most lasting effect on his life as there he met Brenda. The couple were married at Bridport in Dorset on August 5, 1961.

They moved to Briston and spent six years living there, before moving to their family home on Fakenham's Heath Lane in 1967. They had two children, Gary and Julie.

He would later become a grandfather, and then a great grandfather.

A change of job took Paddy to work as a security guard for 29 years at Ross Foods.

Fakenham fire station

In Fakenham he trained as a Fireman for Norfolk fire service, serving as a retained Fireman at the Fakenham station for 29 years. - Credit: Google Maps

In Fakenham he trained as a firefighter for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service, serving as a retained firefighter at the Fakenham station for 29 years.

While many a family meal was interrupted by Paddy being called out on duty, everyone felt a sense of pride in what he was doing.

His love of football, both watching and playing, continued and for 12 years he was a referee.

Encouraged by his wife, he was baptised at Fakenham Baptist Church, where the couple became very involved made many friends.

There will be a procession through Fakenham's town centre on February 10 as part of his service.