Tearful tribute for Wendy Wrigley and co-workers
At a Rotorua service to honour fallen police staff, special tribute was paid to one staff member who made a contribution to the Rotorua police bigger than she ever knew.
Police Remembrance Day is held every year on September 29 to honour police staff who have been slain or died as a result of their duties as well as serving, retired and former police staff who have died in the past 12 months.
Rotorua’s service, one of many held around the country, took place in the Rotorua Lakes Council chamber yesterday.
Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said the day was a time for police to remember and reflect.
“Today we think about the contribution of all of these people who have made their communities safer.”
A roll call was read of the 32 police and traffic officers who were slain while on duty in the past 126 years.
Among those remembered were traffic officer John Kehoe, who was fatally shot near Whakata¯ne on January 31, 1949, traffic officer Robin Dudding who was shot dead near Rotorua on April 7, 1986, after being kidnapped at Lake Rotoiti, and Constable Lester Stretch who was fatally injured while attempting to arrest a suspected burglar in Mangakino on May 26, 1999.
It was with tears in her eyes that Sergeant Lea Framp read the names of the serving New Zealand Police employees who died during in the past year.
She burst into tears when she came to the last name on the list, her mum, Wendy Wrigley.
Wrigley joined the New Zealand Police in 1984, working at the Police College in Wellington, but in 1987 her young family moved to Rotorua.
Wendy quickly proved her worth, working for a number of Area Commanders over the years including Don Hamilton, Trevor Beatson, Ray Sutton, Mike Bush, Bruce Horne and most recently Anaru Pewhairangi.
She died earlier this month, following a short battle with cancer.
Framp wore a cancer ribbon on her collar and had the opportunity to light a candle of remembrance with her dad by her side.
“She would probably be really humbled by this and wouldn’t have wanted any of it.
“The funeral was amazing and I think she probably never would have realised the impact she had on so many people.”
McGregor said it was fantastic Wrigley’s husband and daughter could be there for the ceremony.
“Today was a chance to reflect on the contribution Wendy made, in particular, to the Rotorua community.”
He said when he was in the office, he still expected to see her walking past in “those red shoes”.
“It is a great loss.”
Rotorua area commander Inspector Anaru Pewhairangi supports Sergeant Lea Framp as she reads her mother’s name at the Police Remembrance Day service.