POLICE officers lined the streets of Hexham last week to pay tribute to a former officer.

Michael Olliver, also known as Mick, died suddenly on Christmas Day at the age of 62.

Michael served with Northumbria Police from 1977, initially policing the streets of Tynemouth and Whitley Bay.

He soon moved to Tynedale and worked in Acomb and the surrounding countryside, before being assigned to Hexham, where he spent the rest of his career, serving for 29 years before retiring from the police in 2006.

However, he was only away for a year before he returned to Hexham Police Station to work in the front office.

Neighbourhood Inspector Pam Bridges, who gave a eulogy at Michael’s funeral, said: “Mick Olliver was a professional, committed and experienced officer who was well liked and respected by all who knew him. He will be sadly missed.”

Prior to becoming a police officer, Michael joined the Royal Navy at the age of 17, and was aboard the HMS Yarmouth when she was rammed by Icelandic gunboat Baldur during the Third Cod War in 1976.

Michael’s widow, June, said he had been disappointed not to receive a medal for the war.

She said: “Michael was in the Third Cod War.

“He was so peeved that there wasn’t a medal for the Cod War because it wasn’t classed as a proper war, yet his friend got one just for sailing into Belfast harbour.

“We met at school when I was 15 and he was 17.

“I was at Morpeth Girls Grammar School and he was at Morpeth Boys Grammar School.

“I was going out with a sixth former and he was going away to university, so I said we should stop seeing each other if he was going away, but by the end of the week I was going out with Michael who was joining the Navy.” The couple were married in 1977 after Michael left the Navy.

They had two sons – Christopher and Peter – three grandsons, and two granddaughters.

June added her thanks to all those who had supported her since Michael’s death in December.

She continued: “I just want to thank everybody for their support and their prayers over this past month – especially the Abbey and the Police, the stage society and my friends.

“The support from the police has been outstanding.

“I was absolutely amazed at how many people came out, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“He was always well liked, people used to say he was good at his job but I had no idea how well thought of he was.”

Michael’s funeral service took place on Wednesday, January 23 at Hexham’s Trinity Methodist Church, before a private interment.

Police officers lined Beaumont Street on the day, with many volunteering to do so.

June added: “He was just an ordinary, decent man.

“Obviously he wasn’t just ordinary to us.”