Police honour a man who served to protect
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.
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.
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.
"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."