FOND farewells were said at the funeral of retired police officer Derek Crofts at St Anne’s Church on Wednesday.
Force members and the people he served throughout his career paid their final respects to Derek, 73, who passed away on 6th September after a long-running heart illness.
His three sons Tony, Jason and Andrew, all serving officers with Notts Police, carried his coffin into the church – draped with a NARPO (National Association of Retired Police Officers) flag and sporting the old-style Notts Combined Constabulary night helmet.
This week his son Pc Jason Crofts, a community beat officer in Worksop, paid tribute to a “wonderful and caring” father.
“His death is a massive blow but we are all very proud to have known him. He was an absolute rock to all of us,” he said.
“He was a wonderful police officer with a very practical approach to policing, and was extremely well-respected by colleagues and members of the public.”
Derek, who used to work at Thoresby Colliery, was over the maximum age when he applied to be a police officer at 30, but was given his first job in Langold because of his strong pit background.
Said Jason: “They thought he’d really be able to relate to people in the mining community and he did.”
“He joined darts and dominoes teams at the Hill Top Club and Langold Hotel in the village, and people were surprised to see him return after his training as a qualified officer.”
Derek then moved from Langold to Retford CID and later to Ollerton, before returning to Langold as the village policeman for three years, retiring at the age of 55.
Said Jason: “He certainly inspired me to train as an officer – I knew from the age of eight what I wanted to do.”
“It was a daunting task when I took the same job as he had in Langold some years ago – people in the village said I had ‘big boots to fill’.”
Derek suddenly lost his wife Joy in 2004 after she passed away from bone cancer but never forgot her.
“We always thought he wouldn’t cope without her because she did so much for him, but he always said you have to look forward and not back,” he said.
“He was a very determined man, even up to the end. But he decided he just didn’t want the pain any more and passed away peacefully at his home – he didn’t suffer at all. We will miss him so much.”