TRIBUTES have been paid to retired Hampshire Constabulary Deputy Chief Constable Ian Readhead OBE QPM LL.B.

Ian died peacefully at his home on June 17, aged 65, surrounded by his family, a wonderful husband, dad and grandad, having bravely lived with cancer for some time.

Ian made the most of every minute he was given, getting up at the crack of dawn each day, even on his days off, working tirelessly to give his family the best life he could. He was the person they would go to, whether it was for help in writing a letter, or changing a flat tyre, with spelling tests and interview scenarios, teaching them to drive, or cooking (especially at Christmas), continuing this on with his grandchildren. He could turn his hand to nearly anything, including fashioning emergency rainwear from a hastily-bought roll of bin-bags for the family when caught in a deluge of rain, much to the disgust of some his teenage offspring!

Ian loved his garden, growing vegetables, feeding the birds, cutting firewood, planting up flower pots or simply having a great big bonfire! His family and friends were extremely important to him, often entertaining with dinner parties, barbeques, parties, and quite often completing the event with his favourite: fireworks!

As a cadet, Ian gained his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, and was awarded a Commendation by the Governor of the Falkland Islands for saving children from a bush fire during his Voluntary Service Overseas attachment during 1973-74, teaching children out in the ‘camp’, the more rural areas of the islands.

He later won the Lions Club Youth of the Year Award, and donated the £500 winning bursary to a camp for underprivileged children that he helped run at Avon Tyrrell, in the New Forest. It was here that he met his wife, Maggi, also a helper.

Ian devoted his life to policing and to protecting the people of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, the UK and communities around the world.

Throughout his service, rising through the ranks, Ian served at many stations across the constabulary including Hythe, Portsmouth Central, Fleet, Southampton Central, Fareham, Bitterne, Hulse Road, Andover, Lyndhurst and Police Headquarters, Winchester.

He was posted to Andover in 1989 as a newly promoted superintendent. Two years after attending the first European Senior Officers’ Course in the Netherlands in 1992, Ian was promoted to chief superintendent of Western Division (his beloved New Forest), where he re-established partnerships with local authorities, restructuring divisions into a single unit to release resources back to frontline duties.

One of Ian’s most enduring legacies is Families’ Day, now an annual tradition in the Hampshire Constabulary calendar. He mostly organised the event for 20 years until his retirement as DCC, and continued to support it afterwards, becoming known as its ‘grandfather’ and the nickname of ‘Mr Netley.’ Speaking at the event in June 2008, he said: “It has also been a great privilege to help organise Families Day. When I started 20 years ago, we didn’t get any children. Just look around you now. This is what it’s all about. This is a family force, and I hope it always will be.”

Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney said of Ian: “For Hampshire and Hampshire Constabulary, Ian has left us with the most wonderful legacy and set the tone for this force in a deep and vital way.

"So much of what I have the joy and privilege to lead in this Constabulary was developed by Ian and on his watch. Described by colleagues as ‘Hampshire to his core’, Ian was ethical, visionary and generous with his time and wisdom, a great supporter of all our police family and mentor to so many. His leadership, service and kindness will be sorely missed.”