1. ITV Report

Hundreds of mourners gather for policeman David Rathband's funeral

PC David Rathband's coffin is carried into Stafford Crematorium. Photo: PA

Hundreds of people gathered for the funeral of police officer David Rathband, who killed himself after struggling to come to terms with being blinded after a gunman shot him.

Family, friends and colleagues filled Stafford Crematorium to pay tribute to the former Northumbria Police traffic officer, who was left blind after being shot by gunman Raoul Moat in 2010.

The father-of-two, hailed a hero for his fundraising and his attempts to rebuild his life after losing his sight and a job he adored, hanged himself at his home in Blyth, Northumberland, on February 29.

His two teenage children, Ashley, 19, and Mia, 13, and their mother Kath - who split from PC Rathband before his death, were among the mourners.

PC David Rathband's brother Darren (right) follows his coffin. Credit: PA

His twin brother, Darren, who lives in Australia, gave a moving eulogy in which he remembered his brother's supportive nature as they grew up together, and his recent struggle to live with his blindness.

Recalling the last time he saw his brother alive, when he visited him in Australia, he said he struggled with his blindness and had found the flight difficult.

"It broke my heart seeing him arrive in Adelaide," he said. "He was a shattered man, he looked so tired and frail, and the scars were so clearly visible. This was my brother's new life, and it wasn't first class. David often said, 'I wish somebody would turn the lights on'."

Blue balloons are released after the funeral of PC Rathband Credit: PA

The funeral service began in humorous style, with the Monty Python song Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life playing as Pc Rathband's coffin was carried in.

Humanist celebrant Carly Fee told the congregation that the policeman's family were "unanimous" that his funeral should be a celebration of his life.

She said the lighthearted song - which drew laughs from some of the mourners - was chosen because "it encapsulates David's own optimistic outlook and irrepressible humour".

Kath Rathband (centre), the widow of PC Rathband, attends his funeral. Credit: PA

Darren Rathband, who is also a police officer, had asked Mrs Rathband, 42, to stay away from the funeral and has criticised her for missing last Saturday's memorial service in Newcastle.

Mrs Rathband split from her husband last year, after he grew close to 7/7 survivor Lisa French, 36. She has been caught in a bitter feud with his family since his death and has employed PR guru Max Clifford as her spokesman.

Speaking on her behalf earlier this week, he said Mrs Rathband's children had wanted her to attend the funeral.

"Don't forget Kath was speaking to David right up until the day he died," Clifford said. "Although they were estranged, they were still very, very close. They had been married for 20 years."

In a statement issued through Northumbria Police, Kath had said she would not attend last week's memorial service but would be at the funeral in Staffordshire and at a special service at St Nicholas' Cathedral in Newcastle on Monday.