London

London firefighters' guard-of-honour for Dany Cotton

Dany Cotton Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Dany Cotton stepped down in the wake of criticism in the Grenfell inquiry

London Fire Brigade's commissioner who was forced to retire early following the Grenfell Tower blaze inquiry has had tributes paid on her last day.

Thousands of firefighters formed a "guard of honour" for Dany Cotton, the first female LFB commissioner.

Ms Cotton was due to retire in April 2020 after 32 years of service.

In response to the parade, which came after she revealed on 6 December she would step down, the Grenfell Action Group dismissed it as "a street party".

But as Ms Cotton joined the parade she was hugged by supporters and met with bagpipes and applause.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Thousands of firefighters, and a dog, lined the streets to pay tribute to Dany Cotton on Monday

Taking to an impromptu stage on top of a 1937 Leyland Metz fire engine, she said: "Things have been a bit difficult recently, but the messages of support I've received, the emails, the messages on social media, have just made everything okay.

"It makes me feel proud, the fire service looks after each other."

She said she thought all the work over three decades were her legacy, "but especially recently [on] mental health awareness."

"I'm very very sad to be leaving but I think the legacy of all these people here shows that I must have done something alright," she added.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Firefighters held up a sign saying 'We Are Dany'

But Joe Delaney, from Grenfell Action Group, said: "Given the findings of the recent inspection, LFB would be better off if efforts were directed at providing its personnel with the training they have been denied and its funding were directed at providing them with the equipment they desperately require."

Ms Cotton will officially step down on New Year's Eve and will be replaced by Andy Roe, who has served with the LFB since 2002.

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