Tributes flood in to popular officer

FRIENDS of an award-winning police officer killed in a crash on the A12 have paid tribute to a man who was “full of energy and enjoyed everything to the full."

FRIENDS of an award-winning police officer killed in a crash on the A12 have paid tribute to a man who was “full of energy and enjoyed everything to the full.”

Peter Gardner, who served in Essex Police with Sergeant Bob Walsham, 48, and who also rode with him in the Black Shuck motorcycle club, said his loss would be felt deeply by riders in Suffolk and as far away as Germany.

About 60 members of Black Shuck - all those living locally - joined a minute's silence for Sgt Walsham at their meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Gardner said: “Bob was full of life. He always full of energy and joined in everything to the full. He was just good fun to be with.

“Bob was very outgoing. He was a big part of the club and made a major contribution to its activities.

“There is a lot of comradeship in the club and a few police officers joined.”

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Mr Gardner, a former police inspector, knew Sgt Walsham for 17 years and worked with him at Clacton police station, Harwich police station and then Clacton again.

Sgt Walsham, who lived in Hadleigh and had been due to get married to his fiancée Emma Claxon, 32, in August, travelled to bikers' rallies locally and as far away as Cornwall and Osnabruck in Germany.

Bikers from Black Shuck, from FU Motorcycle Club, Highway Hunters Motorcycle Club and the 4Fs motorcycle club, as well as members of Vorden Motorcycle club, from a town near Osnabruck, will attend Sgt Walsham's funeral, which has yet to be arranged.

Sgt Walsham also helped Black Shuck to raise money for local charities and in August he helped the club put on a motorbike rally in aid of Ipswich's St Elizabeth Hospice.

Mr Gardner said the club plans to create clothing patches in memory of Sgt Walsham. They could say “Bob 1959 - 2008 Rest in Peace” although the wording has yet to be agreed.

The Evening Star has opened up a tribute site for friends and family of the popular officer to leave their messages.

This can be found at www.eveningstar.co.uk and follow the link on the home page.

The Black Shuck motorcycle club is also putting a tribute to Sgt Walsham, and to another member who passed away five years ago, on its website: www.blackshuck.org.uk/2/index.html

Sgt Walsham spent 19 years with Essex police after seven years in the Metropolitan force.

During his time with Essex he was awarded three Chief Constable's Commendations and the Millard Trophy for work in West Clacton.

In 2007 he moved to a post in Colchester town centre while living in Hadleigh with his fiancée and her four children.

Sgt Walsham had previously been married to Pat for 15 years and they had three children, Fraser, 20 Ben, 15, and a daughter called April who died two days after she was born in 1991.

He was member of Black Shuck Bike Club based in Little Oakley, near Harwich.

The fatal collision happened on the London-bound stretch of the A12 at East Bergholt when a silver Vauxhall Corsa and a purple Kawasaki motorcycle driven by Sgt Walsham collided at about 2.30pm.

The female driver of the Corsa was unhurt but Sgt Walsham was certified dead at the scene.