Belfast Telegraph

Philippa Reynolds: Photo that revealed woman of fun behind the uniform

By Donna Deeney

Mervyn and Dorothy Reynolds were incredibly proud of their daughter Philippa, the police officer, but it is the laughing, beautiful young woman who was so full of fun they want people to remember.

The huge smile on her face in this photograph as she tried to retrieve a shoe that got stuck in a grate at a wedding is indicative of how she would light up a room as soon as she went into it.

Her wide circle of friends can testify to her loyalty and friendship that endured through school days, university, holidays and her move to Londonderry to serve with the police.

In the weeks after her tragic death Mervyn and Dorothy, along with her sisters Debra and Nicola, travelled to Derry for a memorial service and heard her friends pay a final tribute.

Sarah Wilson and Lyndsay Gittins, who were among her closest friends, recalled a devoted daughter who was such a homebird that all her childhood sleepovers had to be at her own home because she loved her family so much she couldn't bear even a night away from them.

They also recalled Philippa's zest for life and how she touched everyone who met her.

Behind Philippa's huge smile was a heart that was easily melted and Sarah recollected how much of a "cry baby" Philippa was.

Her ability to empathise with people served her well during her time as a teacher, but also in the too few months that she served as a police officer.

Her bubbly personality endeared her to those who knew her for years, but also meant that those who were newly acquainted with Philippa could not fail but be drawn to her as well.

Work colleague Ray McGrattan said the "raggle taggle bunch of people" in the division in which she served spoke of her every day and remembered her.

The now Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin, who was her senior officer in Derry, perhaps best summed up the impact the bright, effervescent Philippa had on the people she encountered when he said: "Many have breathed easier because you have lived."

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