COFFS Harbour police and the community are today mourning the loss of respected retired police officer Paul Thorn.

Paul died suddenly and unexpectedly at his home on Wednesday, March 11. 

Paul, who was 48, leaves behind his loving wife, Christine and his two children, Chantel and Bradley.

Paul has been remembered by friends and colleagues as a man who worked hard serving and protecting his family and community.

A water carrier truck went off the road at Pacific Bay and ended up in trees. Emergency workers try to free the driver who was trapped in the cab.Hyway patrol officer Paul Thorn holds a medical drip and the drivers 's hand can be seen.Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate.
VALE: Paul Thorn. The former highway patrol officer is seen here rendering assistance to a truck driver trapped in an overturned semi-trailer on the Pacific Highway in 2012. Trevor Veale

Migrating from South Africa as an 18-year-old with his family, Paul completed his schooling at Toormina High School.

After his school years, he took up a job with an oyster company and later worked for Coffs Harbour City Council.

On Sunday, August 21, 1994, he joined the NSW Police Force graduating from the police academy.

NSW police Highway patrol officers Coffs Clarence LAC. snr const. Mark Whittaker, snr const Paul Thorn, Highway Sgt. supervisor Jarrod Langan.. 07 October 2016. 07 October 2016
Senior Constable Paul Thorn (centre) pictured with Senior Constable Mark Whittaker (left) and Sergeant Jarrod Langan (right) in 2016 Trevor Veale

After a short stint on Sydney's Northern Beaches, Paul took up a post at Bourke.

In April 1999, he transferred back home and was stationed at Coffs Harbour, Sawtell and later to the Highway Patrol.

Paul was well known in the area for his sporting ability.

"No matter what sport it was, Paul seemed to be an all-rounder at everything he did," Paul's close mate and former colleague Sergeant Jarrod Langan said.

"Whether it be rugby union, hockey, golf or triathlons, Paul had a special ability.

"One of his favourite passions was cycling.

"Paul's strength and ability left many in awe.

One of Paul Thorn's great loves was cycling.
One of Paul Thorn's great loves was cycling.

"As a policeman, many people have been touched in some way by Paul and the assistance he gave - whether it be assisting at motor vehicle accidents, high-risk siege situations or any other incidents where people needed assistance, Paul was always ready to help," Sgt Langan said.

In September 2018, Paul retired from the NSW Police on medical grounds.

"Paul James Thorn was one of god's gentlemen," Srgt Langan said. 

"He always put others before himself."  

"Gentle and caring, yet one of the toughest men the NSW Police Force had.

"To be taken at such a young age has been very difficult to accept and he will be greatly missed."