Served with Essex Police from August 13, 1990 and died on January 13, 2002.
During the evening of January 12, 2002 Police Constable Gary John Veal was struck by a car while assisting at the scene of a broken-down vehicle on the A12 Colchester by-pass. He was taken to Colchester General Hospital, suffering from head and internal injuries, and subsequently died the following day.
Gary joined Essex Police in 1990 and subsequently worked at Colchester, Mersea and Tiptree. In 1999 he transferred to the Road Policing Unit, serving at both Chelmsford and Stanway. He left a wife, Tina, and two daughters, aged 7 and 2.
The February 2002 edition of Essex Police's own newspaper, 'The Law' carried the following report of Gary's funeral which was held at St Albright's Parish Church, Stanway on 25th January 2002;
Honour guard for dedicated officer by Peter Laurie
The bond of comradeship which unites police officers is never stronger than at times of adversity.
This enduring spirit manifested itself in words and deeds as a human chain of comfort to the family of Pc Gary Veal as he was taken to his final resting place. An honour guard of 90 officers of all ranks, including Chief Constable David Stevens, stood reverently outside St Albright's Parish Church, Stanway, to console his loved ones with the reassurance that they were not alone in their grief.
It was a morning of solemnity, under a grey sky and a drizzle which began to descend shortly before the funeral service began. But it was also an occasion that will be remembered fondly for its tributes to a dedicated, popular officer and a beloved husband, father, brother and son, who was fatally injured on duty at the age of 36 while dealing with a broken-down vehicle on the A12 Colchester by-pass.
There was a mark of neighbourly respect in the form of a Suffolk Constabulary motorcycle escort for the cortège. The coffin was carried by six of Gary's colleagues from the Road Policing Units at Bocking, Chelmsford, and Stanway. A congregation approaching 300 assembled in the church beside his widow, Tina, and daughters Chloe and Lucy, aged seven and two, with mourners standing in the aisle and over-flowing into the porch. Among them was retired Assistant Chief Constable Geoffrey Markham.
They heard Pc Jules Lawrence recounting his fond memories of the colleague he lost, remembering him as a true gentleman and a dedicated, enthusiastic officer who thought of others before himself. The anecdotes ranged from the banter familiar among people doing a difficult, sometimes dangerous, job to the care beyond the call of duty which Gary showed in helping others to come to terms with tragedy. He told how he had knelt beside the daughter of a woman killed in a road crash as he brought her the agonising news and quoted from the letter of appreciation she wrote in response to the care she had received.
The lesson was read by Pc Andy Fitch and the Last Post was sounded at the graveside by Pc Kelvin Westall. In keeping with Gary's love of hill walking and his desire to help others, his family requested that donations in his memory should go to the Outward Bound Trust, to provide opportunities for deprived young people. The pain of his loss - like that of Pc Rod Daniels on the A12 at Kelvedon last February - was the sharper for its suddenness. But his family were offered solace in the words of the rector, the Rev Henry Heath, who asked the mourners not to be sad, saying: "He is beginning a new life, beyond our experience and understanding, where he will now have discovered the true love of God." Gary Veal will be remembered with affection by many.