AN EMOTIONAL Sergeant Cliff ‘Cliffy’ McPherson farewelled his colleagues at a packed gathering at Lismore Police Station yesterday.
After the speeches and anecdotes from colleagues and dignitaries, Sgt McPherson was marched out with a bagpipe escort, through a full guard-of-honour stretching from the front desk to the court-house.
Superintendent Bruce Lyons gave the sergeant his final salute as he headed off to civilian life after 40 years of continuous service to the NSW Police Force.
“Cliff has been a stalwart to the NSW Police Force and a mentor to many young police officers,” Supt Lyons said.
“There are many communities throughout NSW that are better off due to his efforts.
“Forty years of dedication to an organisation makes him a rarity in his times. He is a lovely, lovely fellow.”
It’s been a long journey for the Lismore-born boy who began his policing on the streets of Burwood in Sydney in 1970.
He transferred to Haberfield, then Walgett, Grafton and Armidale before returning to Lismore 19 years ago where he has remained ever since.
The softly spoken Sgt McPherson intends to run a few cattle on his 40ha farm and ‘do a few things’.
“In the past I’ve been very involved with community activities so my wife and I are going to have a bit of a break,” he said.
“We might take a few trips if we see a special on the telly.
“I’ve got three sons and a granddaughter in Sydney, so we’ll get to see more of them.”
None of Sgt McPherson’s sons followed him into the force.
“I did so many hours I think I turned them off it,” he quipped.
Acting Inspector Paul Fredericks said Sgt McPherson would be sadly missed by each and every officer throughout the command.
“Sgt McPherson’s work ethic was second to none,” Acting Insp Fredericks said.
“He regularly put in 16-plus hour days, many of which were unpaid, to support and assist his colleagues.
“The words that come to mind when describing Sgt McPherson are loyalty, honour, guts and sheer determination to achieve the best outcomes for police and the citizens of the Northern Rivers district.
“He will be sadly missed andremains a shining example to all police officers. He is truly nature’s gentleman.”
Sgt McPherson’s wife of 33 years, Sue, said it would be lovely to get her husband back and planned to relax.