At the entrance to Lund Park in Keighley there is a memorial to firefighter Jeff Naylor who died tragically as a result of trying to save the lives of five children in a fire at Broomhill Walk on Wednesday 27th April 1983. The memorial was erected thanks to the Fire Brigades Union, the Firefighters 100 Lottery, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council and the West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.
The crew on duty at Keighley Fire Station responded to a call about a fire in a house on Broomhill Walk in Keighley on 27th April 1983. Five children were trapped inside the house. Firefighter Jeff Naylor mounted a rescue, entering the burning house, and managing to find one girl, before blasts knocked him back and set his uniform alight. He had to be helped by the other firefighters out of the building. All five children were rescued but sadly two died later as a result of the fire. Jeff’s burns were treated at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, but sadly he lost the fight to live. Jeff died on 10th July 1983 as a result of his burns injuries, he was just 31 years old.
Roughly 1000 firefighters from around the country attended his funeral service at St. Joseph’s Church and he was buried at Utley Cemetery. His bravery was recognised posthumously with a commendation from the Queen, and the town’s fire engine was named in his honour. What happened to Jeff directly led to improvements in the uniforms worn by firefighters. The memorial to Jeff in Lund Park was unveiled in 2019, with an official dedication ceremony on Sunday 7th July 2019.
Portrait of Jeff Naylor from the History Society’s Keighley News Archive for January 1982. Memorial and plaque photographed by History Society member Tim Neal in 2022. Researched and collated by Tim Neal.