HUNDREDS of mourners turned out to pay their respects to a "luminary" of policing, who died last year following a battle with motor neurone disease.

Ron Hogg, who was the Police and Crime Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, died on December 17, aged 68.

Mr Hogg, who served as a police officer for more than 30 years before being elected to the post of PCC, was known for his wide-ranging work in the community and his contributions to the national debate on drug reform and assisted dying.

The Northern Echo: Ron Hogg lost his battle with motor neurone disease before ChristmasRon Hogg lost his battle with motor neurone disease before Christmas

The Northern Echo: Officers from Durham Police carry Ron Hogg's coffin into Durham Cathedral for the service. Picture: Stuart BoultonOfficers from Durham Police carry Ron Hogg's coffin into Durham Cathedral for the service. Picture: Stuart Boulton

The Northern Echo:

The father of two, originally from Stirlingshire, was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours, which he received shortly before his death at St Teresa’s Hospice, following a special dispensation from Buckingham Palace.

He was the first incumbent of the PCC role, elected in 2012 and again in 2016, which was one he rebranded during his tenure to "Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner" in recognition of the importance he placed on victims within the criminal justice system.

Mike Barton, Durham’s former Chief Constable, paid tribute to Mr Hogg’s “far-reaching and illustrious” career in policing, as well as his sense of humour, independence of thought and engagement with the local community.

He said: "We are the poorer for losing you Ron, but the richer for having been one of your friends. The world will miss your compassion, vision and passion.

"But we will not miss your inspiration, because it will live on.”

A former school teacher in Corby, Northamptonshire, where he was brought up, Mr Hogg turned to policing att the age of 27, first walking the beat in Newcastle.

He had many roles, including Chief Inspector at Northamptonshire Police, Superintendent at Northumbria Police, assistant chief of Durham and deputy chief at Cleveland Police, where he was working when he retired as an officer in 2008.

He was also the Association of Chief Police Officer's lead on football, a role which allowed him to attend the 2002 World Cup in Japan.

A keen sportsman, he had also been a rugby player in his younger days and later became a coach.

Mr Hogg was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year, when he became an advocate for a change to the law on assisted dying.

Alexander Hogg, his son, said: “He was never a man for self-pity. He never lost his drive or his zest for life.

“He maintained his spirit to the end.”

Mr Hogg junior thanked staff at James Cook University Hospital and St Teresa’s Hospice, in Darlington, for the care they took of his father.

Mr Barton said: "His courage and humanity led him to speak publicly after his own diagnosis for the need for reform.

"Ron's contribution to this and other legal debates will resonate. He thought hard about thorny issues, quietly collected the evidence for reform and was able to put many changes into practice as Police Crime and Victims' Commissioner.

"So many people are here today because he managed to do all of this whilst listening to people, connecting with them and retaining his sense of humour."

During the service, an address was made by Canon Adrian Gatrill, senior force chaplain for Durham Police, while readings were done by Durham Chief Constable Jo Farrell and Sweety Sahani, staff officer to Mr Hogg.

Paying tribute to Mr Hogg, Mrs Farrell said: "My memories of Ron are that he was a great police leader, having been in policing for more than 40 years, a really innovative thinker around the challenges facing communities, and a thoroughly nice gentleman."

The Northern Echo: Colleagues of Ron Hogg line the route to Durham Cathedral in his honour. Picture: Stuart BoultonColleagues of Ron Hogg line the route to Durham Cathedral in his honour. Picture: Stuart Boulton

Among the members of the community attending the funeral was Linda Kirk, founder of the Just for Women Centre, in Stanley.

"He was a great supporter of us," she said: "When he was elected he came straight to see our centre and asked why we started, the ideas behind it.

"He was an inspiring leader. He was a man of the people, he knew the people and the community. He knew how things ticked. He had some fantastic ideas. It's a sad day today because we've lost someone who thought outside of the box."

The cortege was led by four police horse-riders, and a piper played as the coffin was carried in to the cathedral.

After the service, the cortege drove around the Palace Green and well-wishers applauded as the hearse was driven past the cathedral.

He is survived by his wife Maureen and sons Alexander and Andrew.