Firefighters pay respects to one of their own

Floral tributes to Maurice Willis at Hawes Inn
Floral tributes to Maurice Willis at Hawes Inn

Tributes have been paid to local man Maurice Willis who died following a tragic accident in Queensferry last Saturday.

Father of three Maurice (58) died in hospital later that night after being seriously injured as he desperately tried in vain to stop a moving bin lorry.

Crash scene at Hawes Promenade on Saturday, November 22

Crash scene at Hawes Promenade on Saturday, November 22

Colleagues of the former firefighter were the first on the scene.

Maurice, who worked for waste collection company Biffa, was picking up from the Hawes Inn around 1pm when the lorry started to move out of the car park.

It is believed that he attempted to jump back in the lorry cabin to stop the vehicle but was crushed between the lorry and the Hawes building.

Floral tributes were laid at the scene this week.

Long-term friend and local firefighter Ken Mercer paid tribute to Maurice saying he was ‘very gracious’.

He continued: “Maurice served the community for 25 years as a firefighter up until 2008, ten of those as officer in charge.

“He was meticulous and precise in everything he did. He was excellent at his job.”

Ken added: “The local fire engine was one of the first emergency services on the scene and all the crew were shocked to find out it was Maurice who was involved.”

Both Ken and Maurice worked for Hewlett Packard/Agilent up until 2006, as well as retained firefighters at Queensferry Fire Station.

Sergeant Brian Smith, of Edinburgh Road Policing Unit, said: “This tragic accident happened as the driver tried to stop his lorry from rolling out the car park of the Hawes Inn.

“He was crushed against the wall by the lorry, which hit a parked Jaguar car before crossing the road and mounting the pavement, demolishing a bench and fencing before it came to rest hanging over the edge of the pier.”

A Biffa spokesman said: “This tragic accident has shocked everyone at the company and we send our heartfelt condolences to the family and close friends.”

Maurice is survived by wife Linda, sons Phil and Michael and daughter Deborah.