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Funeral for flood death policeman

27 November 09 09:15 GMT

Hundreds of people are expected to attend the funeral of a Cumbria Police officer killed when a bridge collapsed.

Pc Bill Barker, 44, was directing motorists off Northside Bridge in Workington when it caved in following heavy rainfall.

More than 500 people are expected to attend the public service in his home town of Egremont on Friday.

Prince Charles will also be visiting Cumbria later, to spread the message the county is "open for business".

He is expected to meet residents affected by the floods caused by the heavy rains a week ago.

A 200-strong round-the-clock military team is due to begin construction of a temporary footbridge to reconnect the two halves of Workington.

There are hopes it will be open to the public by 5 December.

'Wonderful officer'

Pc Barker was described by the prime minister as a "heroic, very brave man who died trying to save the lives of others".

Witnesses said the father-of-four had gone to the aid of a car on Northside Bridge when it collapsed on 20 November.

His body was later found on a beach 10 miles away.

His youngest daughter, Emma, wrote a poignant letter thanking people for all the support the family had received.

The seven-year-old said: "Thank you everyone for giving cards to me and my family and supporting us by giving us flowers, hugs and kisses."

Cumbria's chief constable Craig Mackey described Pc Barker as "a wonderful police officer and a real family man".

He added: "Bill is a hero who died saving the lives of others."

The funeral service at St Mary and St Michael's church is due to begin at 1300 GMT.

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