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Sunday, 19 January, 2003, 14:42 GMT
Policeman's widow leads tributes
Poynton Baptist Church
Hundreds gathered for the memorial service
The widow of policeman Stephen Oake, who died during an anti-terrorism operation, has paid tribute to her "loving husband" at memorial services.

Lesley Oake said she was comforted by the fact she and her husband had told each other every day that they loved each other and she urged all married couples to do the same.

Lesley Oake
Widow Mrs Oake gave a moving tribute
She was speaking at the first of two services at her local church in Cheshire in memory of detective constable Oake, who died on Tuesday during the police raid in Manchester.

Hundreds of members of the public joined Mr Oake's family, friends and police colleagues for the 45 minute service in Poynton Baptist Church.

I have had a most fantastic life with my husband and I don't have any regrets.

Lesley Oake
A second service was held for the family, close friends and the congregation.

Mr Oake was a lay preacher at the church and his family regularly worshipped there.

'Wonderful person'

In a statement the family told how the 40-year-old had "brought joy into the lives" of all who knew him.

Father-of-three Mr Oake was described as a "special father, and loving husband and friend".

While they said no family should have to go through what they had, they had been overwhelmed by public support.

Stephen Oake
Mr Oake was a father-of-three
"Steve was a wonderful person who will be sadly missed by everyone," they said.

At the service, Mrs Oake, 40, told the congregation her faith was helping to keep her strong.

"All I want to say on behalf of Steve is that God is real and in every marriage and for every husband and wife to tell each other every single day that they love each other.

"Because that is what we did and it gives us no end of joy," she said.

Tough policeman

Reverend Rob White told BBC News: "It's very important to mark the life of a man of integrity, to pay him tribute and also to thank God for his life."

Candle at memorial service
Messages have been sent from around the world
He described the Special Branch officer as a tender man who was a tough policeman.

A separate church service was held on Sunday in Crumpsall, in north Manchester, where Mr Oake died.

On Thursday, Mrs Oake and the couple's three children Rebecca, 14, Corinne, 12, and Christopher, 15, laid flowers and cards at the scene of his death.

And at the weekend Christopher was treated as a VIP when he went to watch his team Chelsea play at Old Trafford with his family.

The prime minister and the Queen have been among the many who have sent messages of support.

Kamel Bourgass, 27, is due to appear at the Old Bailey on 27 January charged with Mr Oake's murder and the attempted murder of four other officers.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"The congregation mourned the loss of a respected member of their community"
Reverend Rob White
"It's a very sombre time"

Click here to go to Manchester
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15 Jan 03 | Politics
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