Tyne & Wear

PC David Rathband memorial: Twin 'clocks him off shift'

The twin brother of PC David Rathband has "clocked" him off his final shift before a memorial service in Newcastle.

PC Rathband, 44, who was shot and blinded by Raoul Moat in 2010, was found hanged at his home in Blyth, Northumberland, on 29 February.

The hour-long memorial service was held at St Nicholas Cathedral.

Beforehand the hearse stopped at Etal Lane police station so Darren Rathband could formally clock his brother off his final shift.

PC Rathband's children Mia, 13, and Ashley, 19, were driven to the service by officers from Northumbria Police.

Their mother Kath did not attend, but will be at the funeral in his native Stafford next Saturday and at a second memorial service organised by Northumbria Police at the same cathedral on 19 March.

Humanist speaker

PC Rathband's coffin was brought into the cathedral by paramedic Philip Molloy and ambulance technician Stephen Martin, who treated him after he was shot.

Image caption Darren Rathband organised the service for his twin

Also carrying his coffin were colleagues Sgt Steve Winn and PC Steven Marsh, as well as Peter and Andrew Nelson from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Tim Healy, star of Auf Wiedersehen Pet, was at the service.

Darren Rathband, who is also a police officer and lives in Australia, organised the event.

He wept as he placed a hand on the coffin, which was draped in a union flag, covered with lilies and the officer's police cap.

Speaking at the service, Humanist Carly Fee said of PC Rathband: "He started off as a plumber working alongside his father Keith and had a very strong work ethic.

"He always saw tasks through to the end."

'Done him proud'

She said he doted on his children and took great pleasure in them during the years they were growing up.

She said: "He took great pleasure in raising the little ones - Mia was his little princess and he was so proud of Ashley.

"He always said he would be the first Rathband to go to university. Ash is now studying for a business degree - you have done him proud."

She also spoke of the brothers' happy childhood when they were the "terrible twins" whose motto was "it wasn't me it was him".

One of PC Rathband's favourite hymns, Jerusalem, was sung during the service.

The Dean of Newcastle, the Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, said: "We hope that this service will begin the process of bringing healing and reconciliation to those who have been caught up in this tragic situation."

The Chief Constable of Northumbria, Sue Sim, who promised PC Rathband there remained a job for him with the force, was at the service alongside Nick Herbert, Minister of State for Policing.

Image caption PC Rathband was shot by Raoul Moat as he sat in his patrol car

Darren Rathband said his brother was a "hero" who thought he was just a "cop doing what he loved".

He said: "I've lost half of me, you don't get over it you just get through it."

He pledged to keep supporting his brother's charity, the Blue Lamp Foundation, which helps emergency service personnel who have been injured at work.

Also speaking at the event, PC Rathband's friend, DJ Tony Horne, said: "For me, it would be a beautiful irony and job done if legislation was passed so that there was no need for a Blue Lamp Foundation.

"Rathband's Law would ensure that all injured servicemen in the line of duty should not want or wait for financial security and emotional support from now until the end of time."

At the end of the service Darren Rathband said: "It is time to take my brother home", before accompanying the coffin out of the cathedral.

PC Rathband was shot twice by Moat while sitting unarmed in his patrol car in July 2010.

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