Below are the tributes which were made to PC Andrew Harper during today’s funeral service by his wife, Lissie, and his colleague PC Jordan Johnstone:
The tribute read by Lissie Harper
“Today I would like to remember and honour the kind brave and lovely man we all know. We are all here just for you.
From the ever sweet, lanky, red faced boy passing me notes in class, to the strong and loyal man you grew to be. I have always known how special you are. We often talked about how lucky we were to have found and kept each other, true childhood sweethearts, loving one another more and more with each passing day. Not a day went past that we didn’t say I love you.
You used to tell me we were a team and that we would get through all of life’s hurdles together, how I wish you were here with me now. The hardest challenge of all is losing you.
We managed to pack so many amazing memories into the last 13 years, travelling the world, buying a house and getting married. You had a contagious love for life, filling each day with laughter and appreciating all the little things.
You have always been a protector. Whether in your role of big brother, fierce friend, loving husband or keeper of peace among the public, keeping everyone safe was your priority, not only in your job but your family too. Everything was always okay when you were around.
Although Andrew was strong he was also unfailingly kind, a gentle giant with a heart of gold. He wore his uniform with pride and vowed to challenge the bad and celebrate the good.
He loved to be part of a team and had a work ethic to admire. Looking around me today I know that he was classed so very highly among his peers, known for being proactive, kind and fair.
Aside from the police however, Andrew treasured his family above all else, a country boy who loved the outdoors, picnics, bbqs and walking. We took many trips to Cornwall and Andrew was so at peace there, walking on the beach, Cornish pasties and fish and chips, it all made him so happy. This in fact was the last trip we took together after our wedding. I didn’t realise at the time how precious those memories would become.
To many of you Andrew was a lovely little part of your lives or even just someone who was always there on the periphery of life. However to me Andrew was everything, my breakfast buddy, my dancing partner, the love of my life. He could fix anything and kept everything, pen lids, Tupperware, countless keys with no home, screws, holey socks and broken bits to glue back together. He was an adventurer, food lover, board game competitor, he miss-pronounced words and always fell asleep during film nights. He loved nights in and laying by the fire, or finding a new road to wander and discover.
He was always ready for the next adventure, never one to be deterred by anything, a positive force of nature. I will treasure every moment we had together from, sky-diving, bungee jumping, mountain climbing and white water rafting, to walking on beaches, collecting sea glass, cheeky takeaways and lazy mornings. We should have had so many more of these days together, for you Andrew above all deserved a lifetime of happiness.
Andrew was so many things to many of us, husband, best friend, brother, son, uncle, nephew and colleague. The kindest of kind and sweetest of sweet.
He could cheer me up when I was down just by pulling a silly face or making a joke. I could never stay mad at him for long because he made me laugh in the middle of an argument. Oh how I hated that.
I’ve never known anyone so kind, worry free, forgiving, positive and good as our Andrew,
An animal rescuer, he could often be found laying on a rug with the family dog and even taking many creatures to Tiggywinkles Animal Rescue. If there was an animal in need you always seemed to come across it, hedgehogs, deer and even birds had been known to take a trip in the car with Andrew. A true friend to all.
If there’s one thing Andrew taught me it was to not sweat the small stuff and to treasure each day as if it is a gift. Every time I feel down and without hope I can hear his kind words in my ear telling me to keep going, Find laughter, seek happiness. Forever more I will live each day for you Andrew, every moment of joy, peace, and love I promise to think of my husband and feel lucky to have known him as much as I did, more than anyone. He was my hero and his spirit will live on in my memories forever.
My lovely boy, I miss you more and more as the days pass into weeks, my love for you will never fade, the sound of your laugh will stay with me. Your beautiful smile and warm embrace will fill my dreams and comfort me as you always have.
A good friend said to me recently that they will never again complain about growing older, every year on this planet is a privilege, every grey hair a blessing, as not all of us will have the honour of getting old. More than anything I wish that my most favourite person had not been taken so early, so cruelly, so unexpectedly. “I wish” is a thought that no one should have to think! We should all get the chance to reach the true end of our lives, so for Andrew I only hope that we will live every day, every moment, as if it is our last. No more “I wish”, only “I’m glad”.
If everyone on this earth had just an ounce of the kindness and generosity that Andrew had, I know that it would be a better place.
Andrew loved movies. We spent many nights in together with our favourite films and snacks. So I tried to find something appropriate to say from one of his favourites.
Unfortunately Andrew, the Matrix or Dumb and Dumber didn’t quite seem the right fit for this beautiful place, but perhaps this one will.
Stop all the Clocks by W H Auden
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crépe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song,
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong
The stars are not wanted now, put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good”.
Tribute read out by PC Jordan Johnstone, of the Roads Policing and Tactical Support Unit
I first met Harps at police training college. Amongst the many new faces, you can’t help but notice someone who has to duck under every door. That coupled with an enormous smile made him someone I just had to talk to. He excelled through his training and in the words of his tutor, “Andrew’s flair for the job was immediately apparent.”
Harps moved on from training to the response team in South Bucks. This is where he really began to stretch his legs. He learned his craft and developed into a proactive and talented officer.
Now, everyone thinks Harps was always destined to become a traffic cop, however that isn’t entirely true. He had aspirations for flying. He went as far as arranging an attachment with the police helicopter and attended RAF Benson with his usual excitement and enthusiasm. He then spent five hours in the air, throwing up and feeling horrendous. By his own admission, hovering does bad things to your stomach, it was just not for him.
I remember Harps’ first day on traffic. He arrived in the office with a clean white hat, shiny boots, and an incredible range of tupperware. Each one of his five a day in a different pot and easily identified with their different coloured lids. This was a theme that continued throughout his career.
Our time at Amersham was a mixed bag. Being in the police is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding jobs in the world. We were involved in pursuits, we gave CPR, we worked Royal Weddings, and we delivered life changing messages. All of this was made bearable through the fun we had as a team. We laughed, we joked and we never stopped smiling.
TVP Chief Constable John Campbell salute, Copyright: Thames Valley Police
We also went through our darkest days when we lost Simon Caddy. The death of a crewmate was an event that changed both of our lives forever. Harps wrote a poem for his funeral which was the perfect farewell to a friend and colleague.
Harps’ career then moved on, he worked out of Abingdon where he built many new friendships. This all culminated in his application to join the elite Proactive Roads Policing department, known as the Tango Victors. Elite is a matter of perspective – normally theirs. However it was a role he was extremely proud of.
TVP Standard lowered with Guard of Honour, Copyright: Thames Valley Police
So… how will we remember you? I asked a few of our colleagues on their thoughts of where this paragraph might go. One of the most consistent topics was his love of food. Like a Hobbit his day revolved around the seven meals required to keep those massive feet moving.
– Second Breakfast
– Afternoon tea
– Supper just before bed.
All of these meals had to be worked into a days’ patrol. The majority were carried in his stab vest so they were close to hand.
Chief Constable John Campbell inside Cathedral, Copyright: Thames Valley Police
This is how I will remember you.
Your smile was infectious and your humour relentless. Even in the darkest of times you made me laugh. Your personality shone through in everything you did and I’m so very, very proud of you. Proud of the police officer you became and proud of everything you achieved in your life. I feel privileged to have worked with you and even more so to call you my friend. Your outlook on life never faltered and your positivity knew no bounds.
I’d like to finish with a little quote by Roald Dahl. To me this was written about you.
PC Jordan Johnstone inside Cathedral, Copyright: Thames Valley Police
“I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”