A POPULAR police officer who left a huge footprint in the lives of all who knew him was laid to rest with full honours in Worcester.
More than 200 officers stood to attention as part of a guard of honour as the hearse containing the body of PC Duncan Jones was escorted by a trio of police motorbikes and a standard bearer to St George’s Church, St George’s Square, Barbourne, Worcester for the service at noon yesterday(Friday). More than 700 mourners attended as police officers and members of the public wiped away tears before they filed into the church to pay their respects.
The hearse contained a photograph of PC Jones and his helmet was laid on his coffin. Floral tributes read ‘son’ and another had been made into his West Mercia Police collar number, ‘1102’. The chief constable David Shaw and other senior members of the force attended while the flag at Headquarters in Hindlip was also at half-mast.
The 41-year-old of Ronkswood, Worcester, was taken ill while teaching at Worcester Judo Club in Foregate Street on Wednesday, July 16. He had dreamed of being a police officer since childhood and achieved his goal eight years ago.
Members of his judo club and also former colleagues from Tesco in St Peter’s, Worcester, where he met his wife of 17 years, Sarah, also attended to pay their respects.
His daughter Beth, 15, read a poem ‘The Final Inspection’ about her dad and his sons Daniel, 23, and Jamie, 27, made readings from the Bible.
Colleague and best friend PC Matt Caesar, who was one of his pallbearers, his voice faltering with emotion, said that PC Jones was known by many names - Dunc, dad, DJ and sensei. corr He became such a firm friend of PC Jones, inside and outside work, that PC Caesar was even dubbed ‘mini Dunc’.
PC Caesar described his late friend as ‘exceptionally caring’ and ‘incredibly trustworthy and loyal and protective of those people he cared for’.
He said: “His personality, like his stature, was larger than life.” He had ‘an ability to make the smallest and most insignificant thing hilarious’, was described as ‘comfortable in his own skin’ and able to make people laugh with his rendition of Gangnam style. PC Jones was also known as a ‘fussy eater’ who was incapable of trying new food. PC Caesar said: “Spicy food was his Kryptonite.”
PC Jones was often the first in to work and the last to leave. PC Caesar said: “He was single handedly responsible for blowing the overtime budget month after month after month.” He took great pride in his students at Worcester Judo Club. But PC Caesar added: “His greatest love and achievement was his family. He loved you all so much.”
Supt Mark Travis, who delivered the eulogy, said the greatest eulogy of all was the large number of people who attended his funeral . There was not enough space in the church for all the people and the church hall was also full. Some had to stand outside in the church grounds during the service.
Supt Travis said: “He was an officer who loved his job and had a quiet self-confidence that allowed him to police with tolerance, compassion and patience. This is the epitome of policing.” Supt Travis said PC Jones managed to earn the respect of both law-abiding people and those who were sometimes on the wrong side of the law, one of whom left a £10 donation and described PC Jones as ‘a fair man’ who did his job well.
Supt Travis urged officers to honour his memory by continuing to police with his enthusiasm.
The venerable Ron Hesketh, who led the service, said: “Doesn’t God make some wonderful people and, as we have heard, Duncan was one of them. He was a much loved and respected officer. Duncan left a huge footprint or all these people would not be here.” l A police helicopter which hovered overhead was to monitor traffic levels in Barbourne which police said would be done with any other such event affecting main routes in and out of the city centre. The helicopter was ready to deploy to more pressing needs if required a police spokesman said.