[dc]A[/dc]lthough I have had the privilege on many occasions to share in a family’s joy, last Friday was the first time I have been asked to have the privilege of sharing in a family’s loss.

Photograph of a police officer with a rosette reflection

PC Paj Ahmed

PC  Perviz (Paj) Ahmed was laid to rest at Cottingly Crematorium after succumbing to injuries from a motorbike accident.  PC Ahmed joined the West Yorkshire police department in 1997 and served as a member of the Operations Support Services Division as a firearms officer.

At 37, Paj was just beginning his life – with a wife and a young son. I was told by one of his co-workers that Paj had truly married his soul-mate and was over the moon to be a new father. It was on behalf of Paj’s one year old son that I was asked to document the event, so that in the years to come, he might be able to witness the number of people who loved Paj and turned up from far and wide to see him off one final time.

As I attended Paj’s funeral from behind my lens, I was struck by how sad I felt that I had never been given the opportunity to meet him when he was alive. I listened to friends and family members talk about a man who – simply put – made everyone’s lives just a little bit better. I was struck by Paj’s brilliant sense of humour and the way that story after story told me of a man who spent every moment of his life with laughter and joy. As I looked around the room, I knew from the stories that I heard, that Paj would be so pleased to see so many people smiling through their tears as tales were told of silly nicknames, office pranks and a man who always looked for the funny side of life. I was overwhelmed by the grief that his family and friends felt knowing that he was gone too soon.

I hope that in a tiny little way, my photographs will help his young son see that his father was not only an everyday hero, but also a man of great joy and laughter.

Please take a moment to look through the images that capture Paj’s send off and to remember him and all of the other heroes of our police force that leave us too soon.

He will be missed.

Images published with permission.

 

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