HEARTACHE and grief was felt by the community of Lithgow as family, friends, colleagues and residents gathered at Hoskins Church to farewell Senior Constable Kelly Foster on Thursday, January 14.
It was a tragic start to the New Year when the highly regarded police officer, stationed at Lithgow, tragically lost her life while trying to save another.
Kelly died while attempting to rescue her 24 year-old companion from a whirlpool at Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains on Saturday, January 2.
A significant gathering bid the fallen police officer farewell and a funeral procession with a marching escort down Tank Street followed at the conclusion of the church service.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions not everyone who wanted to pay their respects in person was able to, but instead were encouraged to view the procession leaving the church.
The Lithgow community formed a united, socially-distanced front as they watched an emotional police congregation of cars, bikes, marching officers and horses with the hearse of Senior Constable Kelly Foster. A PolAir helicopter also flew over the church grounds.
Fellow emergency services personnel from Lithgow Volunteer Rescue Association, Lithgow SES and Lithgow Ambulance Station were in attendance to pay their respects.
Local businesses showed a sign of respect in flying a sea of blue balloons outside their shop fronts in Lithgow's Main Street
Word on the street was that blue balloons had sold out in an instant and that was evident from the bottom to the top end of the street.
Intimate Dreams owner Glenda Anthes said it was important to show respect no matter who the person was.
"Anyone who dies doing something like that, trying to save someone else, whether they are paid to do it or not, deserves to be recognised and honoured," she said.
"Heroes deserve to be recognised."
Bianca Villa owner Renee Di Franco said that the balloons didn't just show support for Kelly, but also the other police officers in the area.
"Who are we as humans if we don't show our support? The police are beautiful here and they become friends, so this is a show of unity and support by the Lithgow community," she said.
The Chifley Police District would like to thank the community for their love and support in the untimely death of Senior Constable Kelly Foster.
"On behalf of Kelly's family and the broader NSW Police Force family, thank you for your ongoing support," a Facebook post read.
Sen Const Foster attested on August 27, 2010, after which she commenced duties as a probationary constable at Newtown Local Area Command.
She was confirmed as a constable in May 2012.
Sen Const Foster joined the State Crime Command in May 2014 and worked as an intell analyst until May 2020.