TRIBUTES have been paid to a Canvey firefighter who died after a battle with cancer.

John Jenkins, 46, from Canvey, died on October 2 following a long battle with pancreatic cancer.

His family have paid tribute to an “old fashioned gentleman” who loved charitable work.

A funeral procession was held from Canvey fire station on Friday with a number of fire engines and crowds of supporters.

The procession travelled across the island before finishing at St Nicholas Church, Canvey, where a funeral service was held.

John’s brother, Dave Jenkins, from Canvey, is also a firefighter and has been for more than eight years.

He said: “We had the coffin on a TL fire engine and I was able to ride alongside him.

“The whole procession and day was very overwhelming for me and the family.

“It was a fantastic send off and one he deserved.

“It showed how loved he was by everyone - there were so many people there, including people we haven’t seen for a long time.

“The church was full with so many people and some couldn’t get in the church.

“He fought cancer for about two years and it spread in his body but he really beat the odds, as people say you can die in weeks but he lived so much longer.”

Dave said John had been working with the fire service since about 1999 and was an on-call firefighter on Canvey.

He added: “He loved it and always wanted to be a firefighter.

“He had a few different jobs, but was working as a teacher for West Ham United Football Club teaching academic studies.

“He also worked at Basildon College as a teacher. He took a lot of pride in everything he did and everything had to be perfect.

“He loved life and had three children and one grandchild.”

Mr Jenkins said his brother liked charity work and in 2013 raised cash for the Children with Cancer charity.

He also ran the under 16s Mornington Boys football team on Canvey.