Various: Heartwarming moment dying woman’s final wish is granted by NSW Police

Newcastle Herald: NSW mounted police visit Newcastle to pay respects to UK’s ‘first female mounted police officer’

NSW mounted police dispatched two officers on a special assignment to the Hunter this week.

Steeds Hollywood and Don travelled with their handlers from Sydney on Monday to visit Rita Meredith, who is currently in hospice care at the Calvary Mater in Newcastle. Mrs Meredith, nee Browning, made history in her early 20s when she became the first female mounted officer in the United Kingdom after just two years of services, her family has said.

“She has done plenty of other extraordinary things in her life, but these days are always looked back at fondly and some of the best she recalls,” Mrs Meredith’s family posted to social media, sharing photos of the poignant moment this week and thanking officers for making the trek north after receiving a request from a close family friend.

7 News item

An elderly NSW woman nearing the end of her life has had her final wish granted by the police mounted unit.

Rita Meredith, who is in hospice care in Newcastle, north of Sydney, is unwell and not expected to return home.

Rita, who was a police officer in the UK in her early 20s, later became the first female mounted police officer in the UK.

Her final wish before she passed was to smell or see a horse one last time.

That wish came true on Tuesday when two horses – Hollywood and Don – from the NSW Police Mounted Unit visited Rita in Newcastle.

Rita was the UK’s first female mounted police officer.
Rita was the UK’s first female mounted police officer. Credit: Mounted Unit – NSW Police Force/Facebook

Photos of the heartwarming moment were captured and posted to Facebook, including one where a smiling Rita is seen touching one of the horses.

“Hollywood and Don made Rita’s day,” the mounted unit wrote.

“There were plenty of tears shed and beautiful memories made.”

The post was met with thousands of reactions and hundreds of comments from people saying the gesture brought them to tears.

“Not many stories restore my faith in humans, but this story is certainly one. To take the time to grant this courageous woman her wish is exceptional and heart warming. Love the work you all do,” one person wrote in a comment.

“What a heart-warming mark of respect to Rita and her achievements by the NSW Mounted Police Force. Wishing Rita happy memories for the time she has left with us,” another added.

“Absolutely beautiful and sad all at the same time. And as someone who has had horses my whole life I can understand how Rita feels … There is nothing like the smell of a horse,” a third person said.

With more photos here: https://7news.com.au/news/nsw/heartwarming-moment-dying-womans-final-wish-is-granted-by-nsw-police-c-2324074

Tele: NSW Police Force fulfils Rita Meredith’s last wish

In her final days, Rita Meredith had one last wish — to smell and see a horse for the last time.

And with the help of her friend Lorna, the mounted unit of the NSW Police didn’t disappoint with helping to fulfil the request.

Travelling from Redfern to Calvary Mater hospital in Newcastle, Constable Nicole Harvell and Senior Constable Graham Lovett were accompanied by horses Hollywood and Don to ensure the moment was one that couldn’t have been forgotten.

Constable Nicole Harvell with Hollywood and Senior Constable Graham Lovett with horse Don visited Rita Meredith.

Rita Meredith’s last wish was to was to smell and see a horse one final time.

“It was a really happy day and Rita appeared to be happy that we were there,” Constable Harvell said.

“My colleague Graham, who has been in the police for more than ten years, has never done anything like this before.

“It was incredible and I was honoured to meet her and be there for her. It was an amazing experience for both of us …. I guess we (Rita) could relate to each other.”

Having joined the UK police at the age of 18, Mrs Meredith went on to become the first female in the UK to serve in the mounted police unit two years later.

After serving for more than ten years, she left the force and started her own riding school before becoming a swimming instructor.

But after having kids, she came to Australia in 1991 and it was here that she would go on to foster more than 60 kids — most of whom had a disability.

Rita Meredith with Constable Nicole Harvell and Hollywood.

Rita Meredith with Constable Nicole Harvell and Hollywood.

Rita during her time as a mounted police officer.

Daughter-in-law Emily Sykes, who is also a nurse at the hospital, said Mrs Meredith was not expected to return home, but was overwhelmed by the surprise visit.

“She was so surprised that they travelled all that way just to see her. She is very humble and doesn’t believe she is worth all the fuss,” Mrs Sykes said.

“She was just so happy to see them, pat them and of course smell them. She kept smelling her fingers and just smiling.”

“We got to pat them (horses) and feed them apples. There were plenty of tears shed and beautiful memories made.

“I cannot thank the NSW police for making this happen. You have made this lovely ladies wish come true and did it with such professionalism, respect and grace.”

Rita Meredith with Constable Nicole Harvell and Hollywood.

Constable Nicole Harvell with Hollywood and Senior Constable Graham Lovett riding Don from Mounted unit of the NSW visit Rita Meredith.

Constable Nicole Harvell with Hollywood and Senior Constable Graham Lovett riding Don from Mounted unit of the NSW visit Rita Meredith.

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