Tributes paid to former Shropshire police commissioner Bill Longmore at Shrewsbury service
A thanksgiving service was held today in memory of former West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore.
The service took place at Shrewsbury Abbey following a private family service at Shrewsbury Crematorium.
Chaplain of West Mercia Police, Reverend Keith Osmund-Smith, conducted the service and led the congregation of friends, family, and former colleagues in "celebrating a life lived well".
Mr Longmore, who left office in May 2016, died last month at his home near Shrewsbury at the age of 79, following a long battle with cancer.
Current West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said at the time: “Bill dedicated much of his life to serving the public, both as a police officer, and as West Mercia’s first Police and Crime Commissioner.
"Through his involvement in sport, business and other local groups Bill made a lot of friends and helped a lot of people. The energy Bill brought to the PCC role, particularly through the challenges he faced, was admirable and showed just how committed he was to making life better for the community around him."
Tributes at the service came from former Deputy West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner Barrie Sheldon, and long-time friend Trevor Edwards.
Mr Sheldon reflected on Mr Longmore's "distinguished police career" and his time in the PCC role.
"Bill had an ability to get things done and encourage others", he said. "He liked a challenge, and was true to his principles of seeking the best for communities. He was a visionary, an innovator and a true man of the people who will be sorely missed by us all."
Speaking of the man he knew as his friend, Mr Edwards described Mr Longmore as "a real gentleman – a straight-talking man".
He added: "Bill spoke from the heart with passion and honesty. He loved the idea of making dreams come true."
Mr Longmore served as a police officer with Staffordshire Police for 30 years where he reached the rank of Superintendent. Following retirement he used his experience to serve the people of West Mercia as the first appointed Police and Crime Commissioner.
A keen bowler, Mr Longmore was committed to his local community and bought the local Hanwood pub, The Cock Inn, for the village after the landlord pulled his final pint.
Months of renovation to the pub and its adjoining bowling green saw the building saved for the community.
Phil Talbot, treasurer of Hanwood Bowling Team, previously said: "Bill achieved much in his life as he actually did things as opposed to talking about doing things, and not many people can do that."
With the closing words of his tribute, Mr Edwards encouraged the congregation to "continue the vision, the dreams and the legacy of the man of the people".