Tribute to airport fire chief

The family of Cotswold Airport fire chief Steve Mills have paid tribute to the loving family man "who always had a smile on his face".

45 year old Steve was killed in an industrial incident at the airport on Friday, April 8.

His family say that Steve's death has left a massive hole in their lives, but they were keen to pay tribute to the "dedicated and professional" firefighter, who was passionate about his work and devoted to his 13 year old son.

Speaking on behalf of the family, Steve's sister Helen Dyer said: "Steven's death has left us all devastated and it's difficult to express the sense of loss we feel.
"He was such a funny, kind, giving and caring man, who was always smiling and had a twinkle in his eye.
"He was an amazing big brother, a loving son and absolutely devoted to his little boy.
"He also loved his work at the airport. He did many things in his life and had many interests, but the fire service was a longstanding passion.
"Certainly from the tributes we have seen, it is heartening to know how much Steve meant to so many people and how many lives he touched."

Steve grew up in Minety and attended Minety Junior School and the former Corn Gastons comprehensive school in Malmesbury.

Although always destined for a life in the fire service, he also trained and worked as a bodyguard for a short period and was a keen DIY mechanic, with a passion for kit cars and motorcycles.  He was also a "beautiful" welder and used this talent throughout his employment

Steve was a senior member of staff at Cotswold Airport for many years and played a key role in helping develop the facility after it changed into private ownership.

He became Fire Services Manager not long after the airport rebranded from Kemble to Cotswold Airport, in 2009, and his diligence and leadership qualities, as well as his affable nature, earned him the affection of both the firecrew and the wider airport team.

Steve was also a retained firefighter for Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and was a popular member of the crew based at Malmesbury.

His sister continued: "Steve led such an active and busy life but always had time for others. If he could help you he would.
"He immersed himself in various new interests and hobbies but, as he continued living in the area in which he grew up, he always retained a strong link to home and his family and friends.
"He absolutely loved life and the friendly, happy way he went about things was infectious.
"We are all missing him terribly but will always carry him with us in our hearts."

Family and friends will gather to pay their respects at his funeral on April 28, at Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, at 2pm.