March for his memory - 370km walk in Rixon’s honour

THE stepdaughter and widow of fallen officer Senior Constable David Rixon will join police officers from around the state next month on a walking mission which will end with memorial services on the anniversary of his death.

On the morning of March 2, 2012 Senior Constable David Rixon was fatally shot while on a routine traffic stop in Tamworth, leaving behind his wife Fiona, six children and a community shocked by his death.

To show their continued support of the Rixon family, and to remember Rixon’s legacy, a contingent of officers of all ranks will walk 370km from Wyong to Tamworth crossing six police commands.

Among the walkers, a bright pink cap will stand out as a bittersweet personal message.

Worn by 26-year-old Probationary Constable Jemma Galea, the 

stepdaughter of Senior Constable Rixon, she said it was the subject of a joke between the pair.

“David said to me when I bought it, ‘when are you ever going to wear that hat?” Ms Galea said. 

“So now I’ll wear it, on a walk to remember him.”

Ms Galea said in the months after David’s death, she missed out on a lot of community and police remembrance events as she was completing her police training in Goulburn.

Now on official duty at Gunnedah Police Station, Ms Galea said she is looking forward to joining her fellow officers on the walk to remember her step-father.

“It’s something I can do to say thank you to everyone who is doing the walk, and also a chance to say thankyou to the officers from Tuggerah Lakes Command.”

Organising police from Tuggerah Lakes said they were inspired by the ‘Cooee recruitment march’, a famous walk that began in Gilgandra in 1915 with 35 men, it’s ranks swelling to 265 by it’s end in Sydney, all eager to join the Australian war effort for WWI.

Organisers are hoping that police and community members, inspired by fellow walkers will join them along the way, for one, or as many kilometres as they see fit.

In the days after the tragedy, police commands around NSW responded, sending police over to replace staff at the Tamworth Police Station so they could be with their friends and family.

Tuggerah Lakes LAC sent over a duty officer for two weeks to help out, as did commands from Bathurst and Dubbo.

Tamworth Crime Prevention Officer Tracey Freeman, who will join Ms Galea and two other officers from Oxley LAC on the walk, said the extra officers were very welcome in a time of personal tragedy for the command.

Participant and Oxley LAC Senior Constable Gretel Robertson said the fatal event had had a significant impact on her, as it had on all at the station.

“I started at Tamworth in February, just weeks before it happened and was among one of the first cars on scene. 

I’ve been in the job for 13 years but it was something I’ve never had to confront before.”

The walk will begin on February 25 and officers will walk the whole distance, or via relay for part of the distance, passing through Newcastle, Singleton, Scone and Quirindi.

David’s widow Fiona will take on the walking challenge from Quirindi, ending in Tamworth on March 1. 

A number of events will be held on the Friday and Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of the tragedy, including a fundraising dinner and a memorial plaque to be unveiled in David’s honour.

Tamworth Crime Prevention Officer Tracey Freeman said organisers were looking for businesses and individuals keen get on board to sponsor the walkers.

The 140 walkers are planning on camping along the way and are looking for donations of food, water, or anyone who would like to be involved.

Senior Constable Freeman said she could be contacted via Tamworth Police Station or the Oxley LAC Facebook page.

The proceeds of the walk would go to Police Legacy and the Rixon Family Appeal.

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