STROUD has bid a fond farewell to a popular PCSO.
PCSO Gary Lynch retired at the end of last week after 12 and a half years on the beat.
Gary was the police community support officer for Farmhill, Paganhill, Dudbridge, Whiteshill and Cainscross and was key in setting up the Paganhill Community Group.
“The communities in Paganhill, Farmhill and Whiteshill are safer places because of Gary,” Sergeant Garrett Gloyn, Gary’s line manager, said.
The role of a PCSO (police community support officer) is to reduce crime, fear and antisocial behaviour in the community.
PCSOs aim to provide a visible and reassuring presence in the neighbourhood and they spend around 80 per cent of their time patrolling their patch on foot.
Over the past few months Gary has been training his successor, PCSO Amy Webb, in the intricacies of the role.
He says Amy will be keeping up and developing all the good work that has been achieved so far, and that the transition ‘will be seamless’.
As Amy accompanied Gary on his final patrol of the area on Friday, a surprise event was waiting at the Octagon Community Hub in Paganhill.
Members of the community had clubbed together for a voucher for camera equipment, made an album of memories, played some of his favourite tunes and baked cakes decorated with letters spelling out ‘Happy Retirement Gary’.
Jaqui Smith, chair of the Paganhill Community Group, gave a speech thanking Gary for all he has done to help local people and his very significant support for the group and his role in its creation.
In turn, Gary wished local residents well and said he would keep in touch with the group’s progress, praising what it had already achieved in the neighbourhood.
His final walkabout was interspersed with more farewell gift presentations throughout the day.
He was also delighted to receive gifts from his colleagues at Stroud Police Station.
Sergeant Garrett Gloyn, Gary’s line manager, said: “I have worked with and supervised Police Community Support Officers since the inception of the role in 2004. Gary Lynch is one of the very finest that I have met.
“The dedication and care that he brings to his work is exemplary.
“The communities in Paganhill, Farmhill and Whiteshill are safer places because of Gary.
“He will be such a loss to our team but we all wish him a long and happy retirement.”
Looking ahead, Gary said initially he will be taking a trip to Cornwall with his wife in their camper van, with plenty of coastal walking included.
A huge fan of the Red Arrows in particular and aeroplanes in general, Gary is planning to combine this interest with his love of photography, and spend time snapping planes in flight.
He is also looking forward to indulging his other passion – rock music. He has tickets to see Genesis and is also hoping to catch gigs by Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.
Many thanks to Beth Whittaker for the photos of Gary’s last day.