Hundreds of police form guard of honour for detective who died on Christmas Eve
Hundreds of mourning police officers formed a guard of honour at the funeral of a popular detective inspector who died on Christmas Eve.
A police chief urged colleagues to "take care of each other" as they paid their respects to Detective Inspector Terry Hopkins.
The father-of-three was 40 when he died, Wales Online reports.
His family previously revealed the army veteran was suffering from PTSD, and more than £14,000 has been raised for charity PTSD Resolution in his memory.
Detective Inspector Hopkins joined the 9/12th Royal Lancers aged 16 before working his way through the ranks at South Wales Police.
During the ceremony members of the force dressed in full uniform stood in silence as the hearse, laden with white flowers and a police cap, was escorted by police horses into Glyntaff crematorium in Pontypridd.
With many unable to find a seat inside the chapel, hundreds gathered in the crematorium courtyard to hear the service through speakers.
In a moving speech, Chief Constable Matt Jukes told mourners he had visited the divisions where DI Hopkins had worked in Pontypridd, Barry and Cardiff on New Year’s Eve to learn about the memories colleagues and members of the public had shared with him.
He said: "As a husband, son, brother and father, [DI Hopkins] will be missed in ways I can’t imagine.
"In many ways I have got to know him better as a result of the conversations that have taken place since we lost him."
Rising to the rank of detective only three years after joining the police force, DI Hopkins had recently been in charge of a successful operation protecting the elderly from scammers.
But while he had been "loaned" to other divisions, colleagues described how his "heart" had remained in his first base in Pontypridd, where he met his wife Leanne.
After thanking DI Hopkins for his work, Chief Constable Jukes told the congregation: "It is okay not to be okay".
Last week, friends and family wearing hats with the same phrase completed a walk up Pen-y-Fan to remember the inspector in one of his favourite places.
Chief Constable Jukes said: "The work we do is hard, the challenges are growing, and life, as they say, is a contact sport.
"We need to be there for each other. Terry’s life and passing absolutely means something. Perhaps Terry lives in another legacy in the way his death has brought our police family even closer together.
"I didn’t know him as many of you did, but knowing what I did now I think I can ask something on Terry’s behalf.
"I would ask that we all do all we can to take care of each other."
During the service, a special ceremony was held to present DI Hopkins’ police and army cap to his son Oliver.
Speaking as a friend and colleague from the army and police, Lee Porter asked colleagues to remember the 40-year-old for his smile, "positive image" and dedication to helping others.
He said: "Terry served with compassion, dedication and humour."
"He was firm, tenacious, but fair. He was the first in line to protect the public and the first in line to protect his colleagues.
"We must remember the absolute joy Terry brought to us and the work he did."
Described as a "brilliant" father to his children and husband to wife Leanne, DI Hopkins was also remembered as a talented boxer who had been coached by the late Enzo Calzaghe.
Paying tribute to a "cheeky" friend, Mr Porter recounted how he had refused to remain behind his desk, and had been involved in pursuing stolen cars in the weeks before his death.
Known for his compassion for fellow police officers, victims of crime and those in the criminal justice system, DI Hopkins had also spoke of his anxiety with younger staff members to help "share their load".
Mr Porter said: "Strangely he would have loved today, not the circumstances, but the incredible honour you have shown him.
"If he was here today he would have a wink in his eye and be telling the odd joke.
"It is time now, Terry, to be stand up and be seen.
"Your shift is done."
At the end of the service colleagues were seen comforting each other and wiping away tears as Cat Steven’s ‘father and son’ was played – at the request of DI Hopkins’ son.
Anyone wishing to make a donation to PTSD Resolution can do so here.
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