News

The man who lived up to the legend

by
September 11, 2017

Chief Commissioner of Police Graham Ashton at the Police memorial dedication ceremony Short Stay Unit at Echuca Regional Health in memory of Peter Geddes. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Police memorial dedication ceremony Short Stay Unit at Echuca Regional Health in memory of Peter Geddes. Photo by Luke Hemer.

A plaque is unveiled at the Police memorial dedication ceremony Short Stay Unit at Echuca Regional Health in memory of Peter Geddes. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Police memorial dedication ceremony Short Stay Unit at Echuca Regional Health in memory of Peter Geddes. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Russell and Craig Geddes at the Police memorial dedication ceremony Short Stay Unit at Echuca Regional Health in memory of Peter Geddes. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Shrine Guard Graeme Crispe at the Police memorial dedication ceremony Short Stay Unit at Echuca Regional Health in memory of Peter Geddes. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Police memorial dedication ceremony Short Stay Unit at Echuca Regional Health in memory of Peter Geddes. Photo by Luke Hemer.

EIGHTEEN years ago, Echuca’s Senior Constable Peter Geddes died from an existing medical condition while on night shift.

On Thursday, Echuca hospital’s short stay unit was dedicated in his memory.

Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation Echuca branch donated $100,000 to Echuca Regional Health (ERH) to install the unit within the emergency department in honour of the former long-serving police officer.

More than 100 people attended the ceremony at Moama Bowling Club, including Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and Blue Ribbon Foundation Echuca branch president Senior Sergeant Mark Urbaniak who worked with Snr Constable Geddes for a few months in 1998.

‘‘As his supervisor I was able to see the person who lived up to the legend,’’ Snr Sgt Urbaniak said.

‘‘He was part of the community, the recipient of Rotary awards and a nice guy.

‘‘Peter Geddes will be remembered always and for those who use the facility will know his story from this day forward.’’

Graduating from the academy in 1978, then Constable Geddes started his beat duty at Russell St police headquarters before being promoted to Snr Constable five years later.

In 1984, at the age of 25, he rescued a seriously injured man from a cliff face at Yarra Bend, for which he was awarded a Royal Humane Society of Australasia Bronze Medal.

Transferring to Echuca police station in July 1985, Snr Constable Geddes joined Echuca-Moama Search and Rescue Squad, where he became squad president and rescue captain and was eventually awarded a life membership.

He lived in Echuca and when he worked at Nathalia police station, he slept on the floor of the station in his swag so he could respond to callouts at night.

For his funeral, the central business district of Echuca was shut down and mourners gathered to honour him.

Brother Anthony Geddes said the family felt honoured to have a unit named after their loved one.

‘‘The fact that Peter passed away 18 years ago and is being remembered in this way today and henceforth from this day forward speaks much about the esteem that he is held in by his colleagues and the community,’’ he said.

Sons Craig and Russell, who were 14 and 13 respectively when their father died, travelled from Sydney and Townsville for the ceremony.

‘‘It’s good to see him remembered after all this time,’’ Craig said.

The dedication was the 53rd hospital unit funded by the Blue Ribbon Foundation, mostly in the areas of emergency and trauma treatment.

ERH emergency unit manager Craig Frew said since the short stay unit opened on February 6, more than 650 patients had been admitted.

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