A plaque has been unveiled today commemorating a Wimbledon firefighter who died when a building collapsed in the aftermath of a fire.

Anthony Marshall was 26 when he was killed while attending the scene of a fire at a Woolworths branch in Wimbledon on April 20, 1981.

Two other firefighters were injured but survived.

Anthony left behind his wife Cheryl Marshall, and one-year-old son John.

His death was also the date of his son’s first birthday.

Arson was suspected as a cause of the blaze and it was one of several fires at the Wimbledon Woolworths premises in the seventies and eighties.

The high combustibility of some furnishings is said to have played a factor.

Anthony’s plaque is located at the corner of Gladstone Road, close to where he lost his life.

The best man at Anthony’s wedding who was also a firefighter, and he was badly burned in another incident three days previous.

He later died from his injuries.

Both Cheryl and son John attended the unveiling of the commemorative plaque, along with Anthony’s grandchildren.

Wimbledon Times:

Cheryl said: “'Tony was full of life, extremely popular and very much a family man.

“He was loved by everyone who knew him. “He was very kind and caring and it was this nature (and the fact that two of his best friends were firemen) that drew him to the job.

“He wanted to help people.

“Sadly, his bravery cost him his life on the very day that he should have been celebrating his baby son’s first birthday.

“He will always be remembered for the love, fun and laughter that he brought into all our lives.”

Anthony’s memorial plaque is part of the Fire Brigades Union’s Red Plaque scheme which aims to commemorate firefighters who died in the line of duty.

Fire Brigades Union general secretary, Matt Wrack said: “As firefighters it is vital we commemorate those who came before us and made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Whenever a firefighter loses their life in the line of duty it is an absolute tragedy and we are glad we can mark the sacrifice of Mr Marshall in this way.

“The Fire Brigades Union will continue to work to get Red Plaques laid across the country.”

Wimbledon Times:

Fire Brigades Union’s London regional secretary, Jon Lambe, said: “As London firefighters we always want to remember those of our number who died in the line of duty.

“This plaque will have a prominent place in the local community, close to where Mr Marshall died, and will help ensure that this vital piece of history and sacrifice is never forgotten.”

The Red Plaque scheme is funded by a lottery hosted by the Fire Brigades Union which aims to raise money for good causes related to the fire and rescue service.

The lottery can be entered at www.firefighters100lottery.co.uk.