From Police officer's dying wish fulfilled
A TERMINALLY ill police officer blessed by Pope Benedict before World Youth Day celebrations died in a Lismore hospital yesterday morning after a prolonged illness.
Senior Constable Gary Hill, who battled skin cancer, heart and brain tumours for the past four years, was known for his commitment to his 22-year police career and faith, the Richmond Local Area Commander, Superintendent Bruce Lyons, said.
"It was not uncommon for Gary to go and have chemotherapy in the morning and come back to work in the afternoon. I'm sure that faith kept him going."
When Senior Constable Hill had a seizure at work two weeks ago, he told his colleagues he would visit the doctor after he finished his shift. Instead he was taken to hospital and then to palliative care when it was discovered a cluster of small tumours in his brain had returned.
Superintendent Lyons said it had been his dying wish to see the Pope: "Gary always wanted to go to Rome and stand in a crowd of 50,000 people and see the Pope come out on the balcony."
Colleagues arranged for a meeting with the pontiff during his retreat at Kenthurst last week, where he blessed the police officer and gave him rosary beads.
The pontiff was given the policeman's hat after he donned it for the cameras, mistakenly taking it for an akubra he had been told had been brought along as a gift.