Police officers salute as the coffin of Snr Const Gary Hill is carried from St Carthage's Cathedral yesterday.
Police officers salute as the coffin of Snr Const Gary Hill is carried from St Carthage's Cathedral yesterday. The Northern Star

Police farewell Gary

ALTHOUGH the skies were grey, a sea of blue brought colour and comfort to the funeral Mass of Senior Constable Gary John Hill at St Carthage's Cathedral in Lismore yesterday.

As the rain lightly fell, fellow officers from across the region formed an honour guard on the road outside the cathedral and saluted their 'mate' as he made his final journey to Ballina.

Snr Const Hill's wife, Julie, was surrounded by family and friends during the service. His niece, Virginia Vinter, expressed how proud she was of her uncle as part of the eulogy.

"Uncle Gary loved his job, his fishing, but first and foremost he loved his wife," she struggled to say through her tears.

"He was a positive role model, and he will live for ever in my heart."

Richmond Local Area Command Superintendent Bruce Lyons extended his deepest sorrow to Snr Const Hill's wife and his family.

"Perhaps we measure a lifetime not by the years we have on this earth, but by the deeds we do and how we live our lives," Supt Lyons said.

"Gary enjoyed a very full life. He was a very humble man and is his own way he was a teacher to us about his faith and how powerful it could be. He has taught his policing family so much.

"One of the proudest moments I had with Gary was when he met the Pope.

"It was so special and it meant so much to Gary and to Julie.

"He hung on to life knowing he had the opportunity to meet him (the Pope).

"Only a few days after that, the Lord did ask for Gary. I will reflect for ever in my days Gary's police hat hanging somewhere in the Vatican in Rome.

"The day before Gary died, somehow he was able to sit up and reach out for his wife to tell her he loved her. I guess, old mate, it is that time now for you to take the Lord by the hand and take that journey to paradise."

Acting Deputy Commissioner Denis Clifford said Snr Const Hill had served the force and his community until he lost his long and courageous battle with cancer.

"He was an outstanding police officer and an example for police officers to follow," he said.

Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles played as Snr Const Hill's coffin was carried from the cathedral.


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