A kind-hearted man who dedicated most of his life to severing the people of Wiltshire through the police service, even after retiring as an officer in 1997, has died aged 71.
Tributes have been paid to John Hancock – the ‘village bobby’ in Mere in South Wiltshire for nearly 30 years – following his sudden death on Thursday afternoon (21 May).
John had a life-long connection with the Force having joined as a police cadet in 1965 before serving as a police officer from 1968 through to his retirement.
Following his retirement in 1997, John returned as a volunteer at Mere Police Station and was a well-known face in the front office – a post he held until his death. In this voluntary role, John was a regular fixture at the local café – running a drop-in session for members of the community to receive advice and information.
In a tribute to John, his family said: “John was the most kind and loving father, husband and grandfather. This has been such a shock to us all and our hearts are broken.
“John loved his cycling and he loved walking his dogs so for him to collapse so suddenly has been a real shock for us all. We never got to say our goodbyes.
“We would love to hear any memories from those who knew him – he was a very popular man in Mere and was well loved by everyone. Our hearts are completely broken.”
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said it was an honour to work alongside John.
“It was John’s dedication to his voluntary role and his enthusiasm in offering his services to all aspects of volunteering, that saw John receive the Police Support Volunteer of the Year award at last year’s South West Region Special Constabulary and Police Volunteer Awards ceremony”, he commented.
“It was a real honour and a privilege to present John with his award and say thank you for his significant contributions over the years and I know he will be hugely missed by all those who knew him.”
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