Hundreds pay final respects at funeral of much-loved Burnley policeman

Police horses leading the funeral cortege at Burnley Crematorium
Police horses leading the funeral cortege at Burnley Crematorium

A long blue line of sombre police officers of all ranks stood to attention outside Burnley Crematorium for the funeral of popular bobby PC Anthony Tharme.


PC Tharme, a well-respected colleague and friend to many at Burnley Police Station, died aged 50 at home in Burnley following a brave battle against cancer.

Tony (top, wearing glasses) with Pc Kirsty Shepherd and Pc Anthony Hardman, when they were supporting little Jessica Whelan in her battle with Neuroblastoma

Tony (top, wearing glasses) with Pc Kirsty Shepherd and Pc Anthony Hardman, when they were supporting little Jessica Whelan in her battle with Neuroblastoma

Two police horses awaited the funeral cortege for the final leg of its journey at a sunlit, packed but serene Burnley Crematorium, after it had made its way from his home via Burnley Police Station.

Originally from the Wirral, Tony, affectionately known as 'the scouse officer', spent almost 20 years in various administrative roles within the NHS before joining Merseyside Police in September 2004.

He attended the Bruche Police Training Centre in Warrington for his initial 15 weeks training, and it was here where he met his future wife Nicola. He confided in friends that he fell in love with her the first moment he saw her across the room of the on-site social club.

Tony spent his two year probationary period with Merseyside, often commuting daily from Burnley, before transferring to Lancashire Constabulary in 2006. Tony and Nicola married in 2017 and have son, Gabriel. He leaves his mother Barbara, brothers Matt and Pete, and step daughter Emily.

Police officers await the funeral cortege

Police officers await the funeral cortege

A keen sportsman, Tony played for Burnley Rugby Club, and was a member of Towneley Golf Club, and also enjoyed listening to heavy metal music.

Friend PC Danny O'Reilly said: "Tony was a well-respected friend and colleague to many officers and staff based at Burnley Police Station, where his infectious personality and positive outlook on life often raised the spirits of those around him, even when he was suffering himself.

"He was diagnosed as having an inoperable brain tumour eight years ago, and following a number of months recuperation, was allowed back to work on front line response duties up until 2018, where it was discovered the tumour was terminal.

"Even when his physical condition worsened, Tony would still walk to the station and chat with his friends, moving from office to office, making brews and generally making people laugh. He took interest in the lives of everyone else, ensuring they were okay.

"Tony spent his entire career on the frontline, and was a tutor Constable, passing on his wealth of knowledge and experience to new probationers cutting their teeth as police officers. His caring nature was often a comfort to those in distress and his genuine concern for people has helped many victims over the years.

"He was awarded a Commendation in 2014 after entering a burning building on Accrington Road, pulling the occupant from the smoke filled attic and out to safety via a first floor window.

"Whilst off duty and with Nicola and Gabriel by his side, he also intervened in a violent domestic assault on Parliament Street, restraining the aggressive male until on duty colleagues arrived.

"Even with his health deteriorating, Tony made his last arrest a mere two weeks ago, detaining a shoplifter until units became available to assist.

"He will be greatly missed by everyone at Burnley Police Station, and the wider community, where he had a massive impact both professionally and personally."