A FORMER Kootingal police officer who died in an accident almost eight years ago has been honoured at an official memorial in Sydney.
Senior Constable Stephen David Pepperell was a familiar face after serving for more than two decades in the Kootingal and Tamworth areas as a police officer, right up until his tragic death in a motorbike accident in southern NSW in 2007.
Yesterday, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione unveiled a commemorative memorial plaque at the Sydney Police Centre in Surrey Hills, featuring the names of several sworn and unsworn officers including Senior Constable Pepperell who have died while serving in the NSW Police Force.
Several of Senior Constable’s Pepperell’s family including his parents travelled to Sydney for yesterday’s service. They said they were touched by the commemoration of their father, son and grandfather.
“We are honoured that Dad, even after his passing, will be recognised for his service and lifelong commitment to the police force,” daughter Natalie Pepperell told The Leader.
“Dad was one of the longest-serving police officers in one station and he was quite proud of that; he was so well-known in the community.”
Senior Constable Pepperell joined the force in Sydney in 1971 and never looked back.
After a city stint, he moved to Tamworth in 1980 and served for two years before transferring to Kootingal, where he was stationed until his tragic death.
“It was very touching because we grew up in the police station, in the police residence for all those years and the police force was a big part of our lives,” Ms Pepperell said.
“So we have a lot of respect and gratitude towards the police, and appreciation that after seven years they continue to remember Dad. It is a really nice tribute.”
It was also his work outside the force made him a familiar face around Kootingal.
Senior Constable Pepperell was member and president of the Kootingal Lions Club, president of Kootingal Bowling Club, a Group 4 referee and also an avid Harley-Davidson rider.
He continues to be honoured with the Steve Pepperell Memorial Shield football match, which is played annually in Kootingal and raises funds for the Cancer Council – a cause close to his heart after he suffered Hodgkin’s lymphoma.