HUNDREDS of people have flocked to pay their last respects at the funeral of Pc Dave Phillips, who was killed in a hit-and-run.
The congregation stood as the 34-year-old Merseyside Police officer’s coffin was carried into Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.
Earlier, his widow, Jen, 28, led the procession of mourners through the city’s streets.
Dressed in black, she walked behind her husband’s coffin, which had been draped in a blue Merseyside Police force cloth, holding her seven-year-old daughter Abigail’s hand as younger daughter Sophie, three, followed behind.
Pc Phillips died after he was hit by a Mitsubishi pick-up truck while trying to use a stinger device on the stolen vehicle in Wallasey in the early hours of October 5.
Six uniformed pallbearers carried his coffin to the front of the cathedral before taking their seats.
Scores of uniformed officers from Merseyside Police had marched behind the hearse as it was led through Liverpool by horses from the force’s mounted department.
More officers from around the country joined in, making the city’s streets awash with a sea of black.
Merseyside Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy and the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, were also in attendance.
Inside, the cathedral was adorned with blue and white flowers draped with blue ribbons to symbolise Pc Phillips’s work in the force.
Dozens of candles were lit in an arrow shape behind his coffin which stood in the middle of the cathedral.
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As the service began, the Reverend Lyndon Bannon, assistant priest at Willaston in Wirral and assistant headteacher of Woodchurch Church of England High School in Wirral, welcomed the mourners.
Two framed pictures of Pc Phillips with his family bookmarked the officer’s coffin.
One showed him holding hands with daughters Abigail and Sophie as they walked through a forest, the other showed a montage of the Phillips family.
The Order of Service handed out to the congregation showed a picture of Pc Phillips wearing his uniform and smiling.
A further picture showed the officer at home.
Rev Bannon described Pc Phillips as “a loving gentleman”.
He said that, as an officer, he had “served the nation” and, like other officers, had put his life on the line every day.
He spoke of Pc Phillips’s widow as being an “inspiration” before inviting her and Abigail to light a candle in his memory.
The mother and daughter, Mrs Phillips in black and Abigail in white, walked together hand in hand before lighting the candle which stood to the side of the father-of-two’s coffin.
Pc Phillips’s sister, Hannah Whieldon, led the tributes to the officer following the hymn The Lord’s My Shepherd.
She said he had stored the hymn on his phone to let his loved ones know he wanted it sung at his funeral.
“But that was Dave,” she said. “Everything organised, nothing left to chance. But in the end some things were beyond his control.
“He would never have chosen this time to leave us. We all need him so much, especially his wife and precious daughters, but he was called to be with God, where I have no doubt he is happily mowing the golf greens of heaven in preparation for a game, whilst keeping an eye out for us all.”
She said the family were “humbled” by the outpouring of support they had received following her brother’s death and added that his presence would be “constant and immovable”.
She told mourners she was speaking about her brother with pride.
She said: “A man that great, that selfless and giving doesn’t just leave you. Every word he ever said to us has left a track.
“We as a family will continue to cling to those moments - sometimes with tears and regrets for what we’ve lost, sometimes with the fond laughter of remembrance, but always with boundless love, and for every day of our lives.”
No seat was left empty in the cathedral during the moving service.
Pc Phillips’ colleague, Dave Lamont, told the mourners his friend was a man who had served his country, adding “he was truly fantastic”.
His sister, Kate Phillips, addressed the congregation with a poem she had written in memory of her brother.
After reading the moving tribute she wiped away the tears.
The song Stars from the musical Les Miserables was performed by Jeremy Secomb.
The song was a favourite of Pc Phillips and his wife Jen.
Mr Secomb, who is currently appearing as Javert in Les Mis at the Queen’s Theatre in London, performed the powerful ballad as tear-filled members of the congregation looked on.
Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Sir Jon Murphy said the whole of the country had been left outraged by the loss of “one of our finest”.
He added that Pc Phillips had epitomised everything that we aspire to be - “a professional force with the human touch”.
In his eulogy, he said: “Constable 6554 Dave Phillips came to the police from the community of the Wirral - a local boy who joined his local force, Merseyside Police, to serve his local community.
“Dave did this with dedication, with humility and with great courage. In serving his community Dave paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
He described him to the congregation as “professional, dedicated, leader, role model, respected and caring”.
He added: “On that terrible night Dave showed dedication to duty, he did everything in his power to keep the public safe, he acted in the finest traditions of the police service. He too was brave.
“But Dave didn’t come home and the police service of the United Kingdom and beyond is here today to honour him.”
Stood in an arrow shape behind the coffin, the Greater Manchester Police Male Voice Choir sang Bring Him Home, another song taken from Les Miserables.
Both songs were performed with the permission of Sir Cameron Mackintosh.
A reading by the Dean of Liverpool, the Very Revd Dr Peter Wilcox, followed.
The Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, the Bishop of Birkenhead, said: “There are no words that can explain or make sense of what happened on October 5, one of Merseyside’s finest policemen, a gentleman, a true friend, who one moment was doing his duty in the early hours with his colleagues speaking on the radio and then suddenly taken away and gone.
“But for the children’s sake, for Jen’s sake, for all our sake, we must ask is that the end, is that it. God’s word says no.”
He said that in the days and months to come there would be “good words that will speak to Abi and Sophie when they want to know all that they want to know about their dad”.
He added that Jen and the family had been thinking of doing work in the Wallasey area where Pc Phillips was killed, so “nobody in any way thinking smashing their way into an estate agents, is any way to live”.
He commended those who had given “their last penny” to Jen and her family and to those who had shown “an outpouring of love” in response to Pc Phillips’s death.
Mrs Phillips followed the coffin as it was carried out of the cathedral.
She clutched her clearly upset elder daughter as the pair watched the pallbearers take it to to the hearse.
The family then left in a series of black cars before the thousands of mourners spilled out of the cathedral.
Mrs Phillips visibly fought back tears as she followed her husband’s coffin out of the cathedral, before the rest of the congregation filed out to music being played on the organs.
Relatives of Pc Phillips said they would like to place on record their gratitude.
At the back of the Order of Service, above a picture of Pc Phillips, it read: “Both families of our beloved son David would like to place on record our most sincere and grateful appreciation for the tidal wave of love, sympathy and support we have received from all quarters of the police, sports clubs and organisations, and by no means least, the general public.
“Your love and support has helped us through this time of abject misery and pain. We would not have been able to cope had it not been for all of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”