UK: Tragic Pc’s funeral details announced

UK: A city centre will come to a standstill this weekend as police and the public come together to celebrate the life of Pc David Rathband who died last week.

The heroic officer, blinded by gunman Raoul Moat, will be mourned at St Nicholas Cathedral, Newcastle, at midday on Saturday.

Arrangements were being made to invite top level politicians and senior dignitaries to the memorial, which organisers have called “a celebration of Pc David Rathband’s life”.

His wife Kath, 42, and children Mia, 13, and Ashley, 20, have been invited to the ceremony, which has been organised by the officer’s twin Darren.

He will be laid to rest in his home town of Stafford on March 17 with a public service which will be followed by a private burial.

Darren, also a police officer, said: “Anyone who has shown any interest in David’s life and what he stood for is welcome to come to the service and show their respects.

“It will be a celebration of his life in the North East where he served people as a policeman before we then take him home to be buried with his family.”

Most Read

It will be a Humanist ceremony, in line with the officer’s wishes.

Darren added: “He was a real person, not a celebrity. He only became one because he was shot in the face.”

Pc Rathband, who was 44, will be buried in his uniform, with his hat and gloves on top of the casket. The funeral will not be a full police service, as this was not what Pc Rathband wanted.

Emergency services personnel attending the memorial are requested to wear their uniforms.

Pc Rathband was found hanging at his home in Blyth, Northumberland, last Wednesday evening.

His brave battle against disability touched the nation’s heart as he fought to overcome his difficulties and set up a charity to help other emergency services workers injured in the line of duty by a criminal act.

He was left blind when he was blasted twice in the face by Moat while sitting unarmed in his patrol car in July 2010.

Gunman Moat evaded capture for a week after declaring war on Northumbria Police, saying he was “hunting for officers”.

He shot himself dead following an armed stand-off on a riverbank in Rothbury, Northumberland.

On July 3 2010, he blasted his former partner Samantha Stobbart, 22, and murdered her new boyfriend, Chris Brown, 29.

The following day, he crept up on Pc Rathband as he sat in his marked police car at a roundabout above the A1, and shot him twice.

Pc Rathband saved his own life by pretending to be dead.

He was taken to Newcastle General Hospital for emergency surgery but lost the sight in both eyes and was left with more than 200 shotgun pellets lodged in his skull.

He touched millions by setting up Pc David Rathband’s Blue Lamp Foundation, and set about a series of fundraisers.

But the strain of the massive changes in his life took their toll on his marriage and the couple split.

Pc Rathband’s body was discovered in the stairwell of his three-storey semi-detached home.