SCU rugby mates at Crew's funeral
SLAIN Sydney policeman and former Southern Cross University student Bill Crews was honoured at a full police funeral at StAndrew’s Cathedral in Sydney yesterday.
Former SCU rugby team mate Adrian Collins and several other Sydney-based ex-players attended the ceremony.
“It was a bloody good send-off for a bloody good bloke,” MrCollins said.
“The service was very sad, but at the same time it was really uplifting to see how many people came out to appreciate him.
“There was a full house at St Andrew’s and when we walked out it was absolutely packed with what must have been thousands and thousands of people.”
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione paid tribute to the young constable describing him as not only a natural leader, butalso a team player who ‘always put other people’s interests before his own’.
“Crewsy had an aura that drew people closer to him, and a personality that made everyone around him embrace life and work hard,” Mr Scipione said.
Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, said the Crews family had set an example to the community on how to grieve.
“In particular we want to thank you for showing us how to forgive,” he said.
Premier Kristina Keneally, Police Minister Michael Daley and police commissioners from each state and territory attended.
An estimated 5000 filled the cathedral and surrounds while a guard-of-honour five-deep lined George Street down to The Rocks.
Mr Scipione announced he had awarded Constable Crews the Commissioner’s Valour Award for ‘conspicuous merit and exceptional bravery’ during the raid at Bankstown, and also announced he had posthumously awarded Constable Crews the rank of detective, describing the State Crime Command where the young officer was in training as home to the State’s most skilled detectives. If you get there at all it’s usually after a long apprenticeship. If you get there quickly it’s because you’ve got something that sets you apart, and William had that certain something,” Mr Scipione said.
Outside St Andrew’s, Mr Collins said those qualities were reflected in how Bill Crews played rugby for the SCU Gold Rats.
“As forwards we were a bunch of skinny 20-year-olds playing big country blokes whose packs weighed 150 to 200kg more,” he said.
“The mark of Bill’s character was he kept turning up and didn’t let his mates down, even when we were getting belted every week.”
Gold Rats coach Matt Barlow said about a dozen ex-players would travel to Glen Innes for Monday’s burial and the club was considering dedicating some player awards to Bill Crews.