PC Andrew Harper funeral: Wife pays touching tribute to 'gentle giant' husband

'Gentle giant': Wife Lissie Harper and colleagues have paid tribute to PC Andrew Harper, who was killed in August. (PA)

The widow of PC Andrew Harper paid a touching tribute to her “unfailingly kind and gentle giant” husband at his funeral on Monday.

The 28-year-old Thames Valley Police officer was killed on 15 August while responding to reports of a burglary near a village in Berkshire just four weeks after marrying his “true childhood sweetheart”.

Lissie Harper paid tribute to her late husband at a service at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford attended by hundreds of uniformed police officers, along with hundreds of members of the public who wanted to pay their respects.

Mrs Harper told the congregation the couple were “true childhood sweethearts” and described PC Harper as “the love of her life”.

A colleague pays tribute to PC Andrew Harper. (PA)

She said: “From the ever sweet, lanky and 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.

“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.”

She praised PC Harper as “strong and unfailingly kind, a gentle giant with a heart of gold”.

Lissie Harper, the widow of PC Andrew Harper, leaves the couple's wedding ring boxes as a symbol of his life at his funeral service. (PA)

Mrs Harper said he was “the kindest of kind and sweetest of sweet.”

“He was my hero and his spirit will live on in my memories forever,” she added.

She finished by saying: “My lovely boy, I miss you more and more as the days pass into weeks, my love will never fade and the sound of your laugh will stay with me.”

When members of PC Harper’s family were invited to lay mementos in front of a framed wedding photo at the front of the church, Mrs Harper placed their wedding ring boxes.

The PC's coffin is draped in a police flag as it is carried into the church in Berkshire. (PA)
'You will never be forgotten': A note written by PC Harper's colleagues is placed on the coffin. (PA)

A colleague from the Roads Policing Unit, PC Jordan Johnstone, also paid tribute to the fallen officer.

PC Johnstone, who called Andrew by the nickname “Harps”, said: “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.

PC Harper's coffin is carried into Christ Church Cathedral in St Aldates by six police officers in full uniform. (PA)

“We laughed, we joked and we never stopped smiling.

“How will we remember you? I asked a few of our colleagues on their thoughts. One of the most consistent topics was his love of food.

“Like a hobbit, his day revolved around seven meals required to keep those massive feet moving.

Family members look at floral tributes following a minute's silence for PC Andrew Harper at the Thames Valley Police Training Centre. (Getty Images)

“Your smile was infectious, your humour relentless. Your personality shone through throughout and I’m so very, very proud of you.

“I’m privileged to have worked with you and even more so to call you my friend.”