Thousands turn out for murdered Pc Nicola Hughes' funeral

 

A city united today in memory of a fallen “brave as they come” policewoman who made a “great sacrifice” when she was killed in the line of duty.

Thousands of members of the public stood shoulder to shoulder with police officers from across the country as the funeral cortege for Pc Nicola Hughes, 23, passed through the centre of Manchester.

They heeded the call from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) for "decent people" to come out and pay their respects to the officer and her colleague Fiona Bone, 32, whose funeral will take place tomorrow.

Both officers were lured to their deaths in a gun and grenade attack by what appeared to be a routine burglary call to a house in Hattersley, Tameside, on September 18.

Police motorcycle outriders provided a guard of honour ahead of the cortege, led by the funeral carriage pulled by six horses from GMP's mounted unit and bearing the coffin shrouded in black cloth.

Officers who walked behind were met with applause by the crowds who lined Deansgate, and the clapping continued until the first chime was sounded at Manchester Cathedral to mark a period of silence before the service began.

The family of Pc Hughes led mourners into the cathedral, including her mother Susan, father Bryn and younger brother Sam, while the coffin was carried by colleagues of Pc Hughes, with the officer's hat and a floral tribute atop.

Officers from forces nationwide volunteered to cover the shifts of GMP colleagues so they could be among the 1,000 mourners inside the cathedral - many who worked in the Tameside police division alongside Pc Hughes.

The chief constable of GMP, Sir Peter Fahy, told the congregation that Pc Hughes "set high standards for herself" and "impressed everyone with her dedication and her cheerfulness" in her three years of service with the force.

He said that when first recruited there was "never any doubt" she would meet the standards the public expected from the uniform.

"Nicola stepped forward to become a police officer knowing full well the risks involved given that her father, Bryn, is a prison officer," he said. "She decided not to be a bystander but to join the fray."

He continued: "As Sir Robert Peel laid down in 1829 'by ready offering of individual service and friendship to all members of the public without regard to their wealth or social standing, by ready exercise of courtesy and friendly good humour; and by ready offering of individual sacrifice in protecting and preserving life'. Nicola made that sacrifice."

Sir Peter added that Pc Hughes had shown policing is "not about muscle but is about reason, restraint and intelligence".

"She had a promising career ahead of her but was driven not by personal ambition but by service to the public in need," he said.

"It is abhorrent that she met her death through an evil, dark act, but the best tribute we can make to her memory is that we continue to uphold the standards and the style of policing she demonstrated so well and ensure that might does not conquer over justice.

"She will be greatly missed by everyone that knew her. We will never forget her great sacrifice."

Her colleagues on C relief at Tameside division "greatly respected and loved her", mourners were told.

Speaking on their behalf, Sergeant Stephen Miskell said she would be remembered as being "friendly, full of life, always willing to give a helping hand, as keen as mustard, as brave as they come and last but not least the chatterbox who always left everybody else awake".

In her short time as a neighbourhood officer and then response officer she had pushed through dog flaps, stopped a police van to save a mouse from two preying cats and dashed into the pandemonium of a riot-stricken pub to quell the disorder.

He said: "A lot of people ask me how someone so young as Nicola managed to get recruited into the police service.

"It is rare for someone aged only 20 to pass the recruitment process but Nicola was very rare."

Tameside police chaplain Keith Stewart spoke of her early life and school days at Saddleworth High School which she loved and was thrilled to bring home her first piece of homework.

He asked mourners to remember "a vibrant young woman" who went on to study social sciences at Huddersfield University before joining GMP in 2009 with a view to completing her studies later.

The former waitress at the Bulls Head Inn in Delph enjoyed keeping fit, looking after her nails and hair, socialising and also held a green belt in karate.

"Remember the kind and considerate person who still had something of the little girl about her," he said.

A big screen relayed the funeral at the rear of the cathedral for several thousand more people gathered outside.

Some wiped away silent tears as the hymns were sung and poignant poems read by workmates of Pc Hughes, while a full-size photograph of her was mounted at the front of the church.

Sergeant Stephen Lovatt read Death Is Nothing At All, Inspector Jane Brown read Don't Let Your Hearts Be Troubled and Sergeant Gordon Swan read Feel No Guilt In Laughter.

Pc Tracy Miskell fought back tears as she read She Is Gone.

The coffin was borne from the cathedral to the mournful toll of a bell high above in the cathedral tower before the cortege left for a private cremation service attended by only family and friends.

The funeral of Pc Bone will be held tomorrow morning at the cathedral.

A 29-year-old man has appeared in court accused of the murders of the two policewomen.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick