TRIBUTES have been paid to a Basildon firefighter.

Friends and family of Joe Keighley, who had been a firefighter for 16 years, have described him as a caring dad and a great friend.

The 42-year-old, who had been a leading firefighter at the Basildon station, died suddenly earlier this month.

His twin brother, Jeff, said: “Joe had a clever sense of humour. He was a very funny person.

“He was good to his friends and he always put caring for his children first.”

Dad-of-three Mr Keighley was also the lead singer of rock band the Vipers and a statement on their website said fans are devastated by the news.

Jeff said: “He always loved playing and performing music.

He started as a choir boy, went through the Cub Scout band and ended up in a rock band.

“He had been in the band about 18 months and they were very popular. They played lots in Brightlingsea and Wivenhoe.

“I’ve looked in his diary and he still had bookings up until Christmas.

“Wherever they played, the band were always asked back and they even had fans who followed them around.”

Well-travelled Mr Keighley had settled in Brightlingsea and had many close friends in the area, according to his brother.

Jeff said: “He has been all over the place.

“We were a service family and moved all over, including Cyprus, when we were children.

“He went to Colchester in the early Eighties, settled in Wivenhoe and later Brightlingsea, where he had been for about the past ten years.”

Mr Keighley had been a retained firefighter before serving in the RAF fire brigade and becoming a regular firefighter eight years ago.

His funeral will take place at All Saints Church, Brightlingsea, on Monday, at 2pm.

The family have requested any donations in his memory go to the charity Mind.

A family statement said Mr Keighley had been suffering from depression for years.

To donate visit memory Space/Joe-Keighley