October 25 2014 Latest news:
Harry Kemble, Reporter
Thursday, May 29, 2014
The family of community champion Jim O’Halloran have paid tribute to him after he lost his battle with cancer.
The “fantastic” 74-year-old father spent 25 years as commander of Barking Fire station, before becoming chairman of the Goodmayes Residents’ Association (GRASS) – a role in which he fought continuously for local people.
Jim wrote also several published books, including “Arson About”, detailing stories about being in the fire brigade.
Daughter Corinne Eastham, 52, of Green Lane, Goodmayes, said: “I know everyone says it about their dad but he was fantastic.
“I can’t remember him ever telling me off. He had a happy life right up until the end. He liked eating out in nice restaurants.”
Mrs Eastham added he would drive Joan, his wife-of-53 years, “mad” when he would insist on going on a family trip just a day after finishing a course of chemotherapy.
“He never stood still,” she said. “And that is probably what got him the end.”
Jim’s funeral was at the City of London Crematorium (Old Chapel), Aldersbrook Road, Wanstead, earlier this month.
Mrs Eastham said her family were expecting between “35 to 50 people” to attend. More than 150 friends turned up to the service.
“Everyone would knock on his door if they had a problem and he would sort it out,” said Mrs Eastham. “A lot of people respected him. He was never nasty and people knew that about him.”
According to Mrs Eastham, Jim would get sent to fire stations around London to placate any unrest between the fire crew and their superiors. “He would say: “Look, we are all the same here - treat us as equals.”
Jim’s wife, 74, said she was overwhelmed by the service held for Jim. “It was absolutely fabulous,” she said.
Recalling the final few months of Jim’s life, Mrs O’Halloran added: “Even when he was having chemo he would send me flowers every fortnight.”