FAMILY, friends and colleagues have said their final farewells to a well loved and popular police officer.
Hundreds of mourners filled St Edward’s Church in Leek on Tuesday, April 1, for the funeral of PC Dave Beech, who was killed in a house fire at his Tunstall home, alongside his beloved pet dogs Poppy and Bronsen on March 16.
PC Beech was born and bred in Leek and attended Wallbridge Nursery, Woodcroft First School, St Edwards Middle School and Westwood High School and College.
He joined the police in 2005 as a Special Constable with Cheadle Police, before becoming a Police Constable in November 2008, stationed in Tunstall and Newcastle-Under-Lyme.
He received three commendations during his time with the police for bravery while on duty.
Before joining the police, Dave worked at Kwik Save in Leek, as a lifeguard and team leader at Alton Towers Splash Landings Hotel and Waterpark, and as a sales assistant at Leek Pet and Fishing Centre, where he honed his magic card tricks; a hobby which continued throughout his life, earning him the nickname Magic Dave.
Leading his funeral service Father Carl Peters said: “Sadly we all feel that we shouldn’t be here as Dave was so young and full of life and has been taken away so prematurely and so suddenly, so we are all in shock.
“It’s very difficult for all who knew and loved Dave and our hearts especially go out to his family.
“Today is a sad day in many respects, but also a time to give thanks for Dave and for the many treasured memories that live on in our hearts and minds of a fine and popular young man.”
Father Peters also read tributes from Dave’s parents Claire and Bernard.
He said: “Today is April Fool’s Day and we are in no doubt that this was Dave’s last joke and he is probably chuckling with a massive smile on his face right now.
“However Dave was no fool; he enjoyed life to the full as eldest brother to Simon, Rebecca and Philip, who are all very proud to have him as a big brother.
“When Dave was born he had a big lump on his head, and we joked that he’d have to become a policeman when he grew up so he could wear a helmet to cover it.
“He had a happy childhood full to bursting with hobbies and interests and he was always making things.
“He loved fishing and spent many happy hours with Simon and his granddad at Britannia Building Society lake, or Leek Canal.
“He loved all animals and had many pets with his brothers and sister; once he came home with a couple of ferrets, which he took into Leek one day in his coat pocket and was asked to leave Woolworths because of the smell.
“He especially loved dogs and most recently his beloved Poppy and Bronsen.
“He enjoyed sports and was goalkeeper with Leek Rangers and Nab Hill Bombers and Lads and Dads.
“He also played for Leek Cricket Club, was a good swimmer, and was taught Kung-Fu by world champion Brian Nelson, before taking up Ju-Jitzu classes for which he obtained several belts.
“He love of wrestling began with his family and work colleagues, which later developed into a love of weight lifting.
“Holidays were great fun, camping and caravaning and many happy hours were spent fishing in rock pools seeing who could catch the most and the biggest.
"He and Simon also used to enjoy mountain biking in Ballington Woods.
“Dave was always happy to help others and all his work with the public was merely preparation for his long term goal of becoming a police officer.
“Dave had an eclectic music taste, from Motown, to 50s rock and roll and the quiet piano of Ludovico Einaudi.
“Last year he became involved in the Blue Glove Boxing Academy helping disadvantaged kids, which meant a lot to him.
“He was preparing for his first fight representing Staffordshire Police, as well as the honour of being best man for his best friend Lewis’ wedding later this year.
“He was also working towards joining the police’s Dog Handling Unit, which he probably would have achieved, and had started a new relationship.
“He recently confided that he was ‘the happiest he had ever been’ and we are blessed to know that he was having a great time before he tragically died.
“Dave was genuine, warm hearted, kind, independent, thoughtful, loyal and never malicious with a beaming smile and a friendly word for everyone.
“He made the world a better place everyday, on duty and off, and we are so proud of his achievements.
“The many floral tributes, cards and kind words we have received in the past two weeks mean the world to us and will continue to do so.
“Staffordshire Police have been outstanding in their assistance and we appreciate everything they have done to help us.
“Goodnight Dave, God Bless, it’s time for a well earned rest.”
In their tribute to Dave, Sergeants Wayne Martin and John Bloor talked about his skills as a police officer, progression through the force, commendations and friendship.
Describing the day that Dave died, Sergeant Martin said: “It was one of the hardest days I’ve ever experienced and I don’t know what we must of looked like, two big bruisers like us driving around with tears running down our faces; that’s what Dave meant to us, our station and everyone who knew him.
“He was part of our police family and we haven’t just lost a friend and colleague, but part of that family and it hurts.
“He had a heart of gold and the fact so many people are here is testimony to that.
"He was a credit to his family and uniform.”
Dave’s brothers Simon and Philip and sister Rebecca also paid tribute to their brother.
Rebecca said: “Dave was the best big brother anyone could have; he was kind and protective, loving and hard working.
“He didn’t take life too seriously and lived each day to the full and all the stories we have heard about him have helped the family and for that we are enormously grateful.
"I couldn’t be more proud of him, especially seeing all these people who loved him as much as we do.
“He crammed a lifetime into his 30 years; he isn’t gone, he’s just taking a well earned rest.”
In a poem he wrote in tribute to his brother, Simon said: “I have been blessed to have a brother like you.
“You are a hero to your nephews, one of a kind, and you will always mean the world to me.
“I know now that it’s true when they say ‘he only takes the best’.”
Concluding the tributes, Philip said: “When I found out about Dave's passing I was crushed and remember thinking ‘how can someone so fearless be taken away so easily.’
“Hearing all the stories about Dave show just how much he touched everyone who knew him.
“He was always known as Magic Dave, even without his tricks, and we can all take a piece of Magic Dave with us and let it live on.
“He was a gifted, dedicated and natural police officer, best friend and brother you could ask for and I’m glad we got to spend 23 years together, it’s not long enough, but it’s a lifetime of memories.”