On Friday 14 June the funeral service of the late P.C. George William Boddy took place at St. Luke’s Church, Cannock, Staffordshire. This particular funeral was not unlike any other which takes place whenever a Police officer dies in service, but those who attended - and there were many - came on that bright sunny afternoon to pay respect not only to a colleague who had died at the age of 53 years but also to a man of infinite courage and matchless fortitude.
George Boddy joined the Staffordshire Force in 1946, but it was not until the mid-sixties that he came to notice as anything other than a dedicated, utterly reliable Policeman who was, incidentally, stationed in Cannock Division throughout his service. Stricken with kidney disease in 1965 it was said at the time he had a maximum of 18 months to live. But thanks to the timely intervention and deep personal interest of the Chief Constable, Mr. Arthur Rees, and the then Divisional Commander at Cannock, Mr. Andrew Mitchell, coupled with wonderful co-operation from the Royal Free Hospital in London, George was given the chance he so richly deserved - the opportunity to stay alive with the aid of a kidney machine.
George Boddy was technically minded (in a do-it-yourself kind of way) and it was not long before he and his wife, Maisie, understood the complicated workings of this mechanical kidney and, subsequently, the machine was installed in a special room in his council house home. Even at that stage it would have been easy to look for retirement, on grounds of ill health, but such a course was not for P.C. “Courageous” either then or in the years which followed. In fact he continued to perform a man-sized job at Cannock.
Then, one afternoon George was recalled in great haste to the Royal Free, where a kidney transplant was made. Unfortunately the operation was not successful, but with typical courage this wonderful fellow, Boddy, accepted the disappointment philosophically and returned, as conscientiously as ever, to the collator’s office at Cannock.
Those who visited the Police station and knew nothing of George’s “life-style” were always surprised on learning the truth about the genial Constable who worked there by day and spent his nights on a kidney machine. He was always very willing to do anything to help anybody and was recognised as one of those extraordinary handymen who can sometimes be found in operational stations.
On the morning of 3 January this year while going to collect his box of tools George Boddy fell down some ice-covered steps at his home and fractured the neck of his femur. Because of the kidney condition, hospital treatment of the fracture could not easily be undertaken locally, so he had to travel - despite an ambulance dispute (which was forgotten for George) and tremendous pain - back again to the Royal Free, where the broken limb was plastered.
In March this remarkable man had a heart attack and, following a further relapse in early April, he was not really expected to survive. But we who listened to this prognosis had momentarily forgotten George’s determination to live for he recovered sufficiently to return home on 5 June. Four days later, however, he succumbed to yet another heart attack, and his dearest wish was granted - he died in service.
One might say that George Boddy was given something like a 10-year bonus - some may say he lived on borrowed time — but if any man deserves such a bonus it was this most unassuming Constable who, with the support of a truly wonderful wife, refused to give up his fight to live and, furthermore, refused to give up his right to serve in the job to which he was so completely dedicated.
I am proud to have known George throughout most of his life and, like countless others, I shall never forget his courage in the face of just about the ultimate in adversity.
Kenneth J. Hawley, Superintendent, Staffordshire Constabulary.
Police Review 21 June 1974
A tribute to George Boddy, Staffordshire Policeman and a gentleman of rare courage
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From David - 'a long-lost nephew'
I am glad we at least made contact again with Maisie - albeit briefly - before she died.
I loved the tributes and photographs. It was a real trip down memory lane for me. I have always remembered trips to your parents house and recall asking Uncle George if I could see his 'machine', probably to my parents embarrassment. It made him seem really special to me, with home dialysis being such a new development in those days - and he was a policeman too! Impressive but scary for a young boy!
I loved the photo gallery. Mum had a copy of their wedding photo so that was familiar, but I was pleased to see pictures of them looking as I remember them. So much of what you wrote was new to me and I was pleased to learn more about them. You must be proud to have had two really impressive and well respected parents, who were clearly loved widely.