FAMILY, friends and colleagues gathered to pay their final respects as much-loved father, husband and popular Inverclyde police officer Danny Godfrey was laid to rest yesterday.

His former colleagues formed a guard of honour as a tribute to their dear friend as he made his final journey to Hurlet Crematorium, where a celebration of his life was held, attended by hundreds of mourners.

Danny served in the police force for almost 30 years, with more than half of that time spent in Inverclyde.

He sadly passed away in December, just months after retiring, having lost a short battle with a brain tumour.

Humanist celebrant Douglas Harvey conducted the funeral service, giving an insight into the man behind the uniform, telling of a fun-loving dad, talented hockey player, mountaineer, judo expert and guitar player.

But he told how Danny was first and foremost a devoted family man, a loving husband to wife Elaine and much-loved dad to daughter Molly and son Harry.

Mr Harvey said: "Nothing made them prouder than when he and Elaine became a family.

"He was so proud of his children, so proud to see them grow up and be the people they are today."

Danny's son Harry also spoke movingly during the service, saying: "As a dad I couldn't have asked for a better one.

"He was the most supportive empathetic, kind, reliable person I have ever known.

"Anyone who has had the pleasure of talking to my dad longer than 10 seconds will know what a genuine positive soul he was."

Chief Inspector Damian Kane, the area commander for Inverclyde, delivered a poignant personal tribute to Danny, describing him as a 'natural-born cop' adored by his colleagues and well-respected by the public.

He recounted Danny's passion for helping people and told how in the early 2000s he had moved into a crime prevention position for a couple of years, until in 2003 his hard work and natural leadership skills earned him an acting sergeant role which he relished.

Ch Insp Kane said: "Danny sat and passed all three promotion exams in one go, something very few of people ever managed. 

"His mind was razor sharp and he worked hard at everything he did.

"He loved his team and would do anything, day or night, on or off duty, to support and protect his team.

"He quickly became someone I looked up to and someone who put you instantly at ease and made you feel welcome. He was instantly popular with everyone."

The senior officer told how Danny had ended his career in Inverclyde working as a response sergeant then as police local authority liaison officer to Inverclyde Council, in a role where he became so well-known and respected within the area.

Damian recounted one incident where Sergeant Godfrey went above and beyond his duties, supporting an old lady when she had been robbed, visiting and bringing her shopping - and another where he took two German tourists lost in Greenock back to his home to stay the night until they got themselves sorted.

He said: "Danny set the standard for compassion and kindness."

Ch Insp Kane said the word most commonly used to describe Danny was 'gentleman', adding: "He truly was an absolute gentleman, a respectful, pleasant, courteous and honourable man.

"He is also an absolute legend in policing circles. A man we all looked up to. One of the cops you wanted to back you up if things went wrong.

"Danny was unquestionably loyal to everyone he worked with during his 29 years as a police officer.

"The mould was broken when Danny Godfrey was made, that’s for sure.

"We’re all kinder, better people and better cops thanks to knowing you."