HAMPSHIRE’S police federation chairman today paid tribute to PC David Rathband, who was found dead at his home last night.
John Apter said PC Rathband, who was blinded by gunman Raoul Moat in Newcastle in Newcastle on July 3, 2010, was ‘truly a member of the police family’.
PC Rathband’s body was found by police at his home in Blyth, Northumberland after concerns were raised about his welfare.
Mr Apter said: ‘I was really fortunate to meet David. I first met him in early 2011 as a charity event in London. Then I met him at the National Police Bravery Awards.
‘He was the funniest man, he was so genuine. He was so passionate about his charity work. There are not many people who really inspire you when you first meet them, but I was by David.
‘He was still a serving officer. He hadn’t medically retired, he was still proud to wear the uniform. He will be very sadly missed.’
After he was shot PC Rathband founded a charity, the Blue Lamp Foundation, to support injured emergency service workers.
Mr Apter added: ‘Fortunately for David and his family his legacy lives on in the Blue Lamp Foundation. He just epitomised everything about policing. He has gone through terrible life-changing injuries but he wanted to do something for colleagues in the emergency services through the foundation.
‘He truly was a member of the police family.’