Police form guard of honour in tribute to popular colleague
By DARRYN NUFER
"ALL the kids loved him.''
With these words Ken Purnell yesterday farewelled his friend Senior Constable Malcolm Mackenzie.
Mr Purnell was also speaking for "Mal's'' 11-year-old son Sean, 13-year-old daughter Eilis, students of Yeppoon High School, family, friends and Mal's wife Anne, at yesterday's funeral service in the East Chapel of the Rockhampton Crematorium.
Hundreds gathered to remember Mal, 43, who was one of two drivers killed in a horror smash on the Rockhampton-Yeppoon Road on Monday night.
Mal and Anne were to celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary on Tuesday at Rydges with their children.
Mr Purnell painted a picture of a man whose number one love was his family.
He said Mal was able to go on many school camps with his children as a parent helper.
The most recent was with Sean on a five-day Kinchant Dam camp.
Mal was known to do activities like rock climbing, which the other dad's didn't.
People did not realise he was a police officer on camp. "These camps were a very special time that he shared with his children,'' Mr Purnell said.
"And all the kids loved him.
"He was fun to be with on camp.''
Representing the school children who loved Mal on camp at the farewell service were students in school uniform.
Sergeant Greg Price spoke on behalf of everybody at North Rockhampton Police Station.
"Mal was an extremely downto-earth person who would often arrive to work dressed in his finest attire including a pair of boots, no socks, board shorts and T-shirt,'' Sergeant Price said.
"He was loved for this fact and was often approached by the junior staff for a chat, hence the term 'Uncle Mal'.