Dozens of cyclists used pedal power to turn out to the funeral of Solihull police world cycling championship rider Richard Phillips-Schofield, who was tragically killed while competing at Portsmouth Velodrome last month.
They were joined at St James the Great Church in Shirley by fellow officers from Hampshire Constabulary where he served, in paying tribute to the 33-year-old, who died as a result of his injuries on March 9.
Flashes of blue and red lycra jerseys could be spotted among funeral goers as members of Richard’s police cycling team and his club also gathered to honour a respected athlete and friend.
Two police motorcycle outriders headed the funeral cortege while force colleagues carried the coffin complete with a wreath fashioned in the shape of a bike. A prolific race winner, the response officer based in Southampton, clinched two golds at last year’s World Police and Fire Games and cycled for the Peter Hansford Racing Team.
The packed church saw family, friends, neighbours and colleagues join together to pay their respects to ‘Rich’ as he was known.
Friend and fellow cyclist Dan Stephens spoke at the service.
He said: “He was unique and he didn’t let the outside world bother him.
“He put his pennies in his house so it was his food that took a hit.
“His typical meal was Tesco’s Everyday Value tinned sardines with pineapple and rice!
“This is a shocking and deep loss but his life was taken by something he enjoyed.”
Mr Stephens ended his tribute with a quote from Oscar Wilde, ‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
He concluded: “That describes Rich so well.”
The emotional service was conducted by Fr. Peter Law-Jones who read The Final Inspection and The Police Officer’s Prayer.
A final tribute to Richard was given by PC Martin Livermore, who gave mourners a humorous insight into his friend’s working life.
“Rich was very laid back, nothing fazed him.
“He was well known for saving money and eating food.
“He was, I believe, the fittest he had ever been and, from my heart, you are a legend my bro and I raise my can of Monster (energy drink) to you. Here’s to Rich.”
His heartbroken mother Elizabeth Schofield said: “He died being the fastest policeman in the world on a bicycle.”