Tragic prison officer ‘lit up his workplace’

Sharon Casey with the Queen's medal awarded posthumously to her husband Pete (below).

Sharon Casey with the Queen's medal awarded posthumously to her husband Pete (below).

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A PRISON officer who “lit up” his workplace has been awarded the Queen’s Jubilee medal posthumously for long service and good conduct.

Pete Casey lost his battle with skin cancer in February 2011, aged 58.

Pete Casey

Pete Casey

But staff from the prison where he worked for 22 years did not want him to miss out on the award.

His wife Sharon Casey was presented with the medal earlier this month by Paul Holland, governor at HMP Preston.

Mrs Casey, 45, says being given the medal for the great-grandfather was an emotional experience.

She said: “I was a bit choked. It was a bit strange because he’s not here.

“I got a text from the prison governor saying he was being rewarded for long service and good conduct.

“He was such a lovely character, he lit up the prison.”

Mrs Casey, of Blackpool Road, Bispham, said when Mr Holland contacted her he said that although Mr Casey was no longer alive he still deserved to be honoured. Mrs Casey says she accepted the medal on behalf of her late husband’s three children, five grandchildren and great-grandchild as well as her husband.

She added: “Even though he’s not here I thought it was lovely we could have it. It makes me very proud.

“He’d be proud as punch, I know he’ll be looking down.”

The medal is now displayed in a special cabinet alongside Mr Casey’s ashes and three other medals from his time in the prison service and serving in the Army.

He was awarded both the UN medal and the Northern Ireland medal during his 15 years in the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment.

He was also given the Golden Jubilee medal in 2002 for his work in the prison service.

Adam Connolly, acting deputy governor at HMP Preston, said: “The medal was given to people who have been in service for 20 years.

“It isn’t something everyone manages to do. When I received mine I thought it was very special.

“We wouldn’t forget anybody.

“Mr Casey qualified for the medal so we made sure his wife still got it.

“It’s important we make that happens.”