Hundreds of firefighters lined the streets yesterday to honour the memory of one of four of their number killed while tackling a massive warehouse blaze in Warwickshire.
More than 400 colleagues of Ashley Stephens gathered in the 20-year-old's home town of Alcester, Warwickshire, to pay their last respects.
Warwickshire's County Fire Officer, William Brown, told about 500 mourners inside St Nicholas Church: "We are all now only too aware of the bravery that Ashley was steeped in.
"But, much as we mourn him and miss him...now is the time to celebrate that very heroism. Our solace is that the world needs men and women who share Ashley's courage, dedication and passion so that our families and children can be safe."
Mr Stephen's body was retrieved from the ruins of the warehouse in Atherstone on Stour following a five-day search operation last month. The blaze on November 2 also claimed the lives of 24-year-old Darren Yates-Badley, John Averis, 27, and Ian Reid, 44.
Yesterday's service, the third of four separate funerals to take place, was also told that the family of Mr Stephens, a fanatical Manchester United supporter, had received a note of condolence from the club's manager.
Mr Brown added: "It is a mark of the respect that society at large has for firefighters such as Ashley that Sir Alex Ferguson has sent a personal note offering condolences to the Stephens family.
"I am proud that I spend my working life in the company of such men and women who value the safety of their communities ahead of their own."
Mr Stephens' four-month-old son, George, was carried into the church by his grandfather, Ian Crocker, who also paid warm tribute to the firefighter.
Mr Crocker, whose 17-year-old daughter, Emma, was engaged to Mr Stephens, told mourners: "If only we had time, we would have been so proud and privileged to have had you as our son-in-law.
"We were so happy when you met Emma. George will grow up in the knowledge that his daddy was a hero and our promise to you is to bring your precious son up as you wanted to," he said.