Officer praises wife's 'constant support'

HAPPY MEMORIES: Senior Sergeant Roy Appley is mourning the death of his wife, Jeanette,  after her long battle with cancer.
HAPPY MEMORIES: Senior Sergeant Roy Appley is mourning the death of his wife, Jeanette, after her long battle with cancer.

A Christchurch police officer recognised in the New Year's honours for his post-earthquake work in the city's eastern suburbs will today farewell the woman he says made it all possible.

Senior Sergeant Roy Appley's wife, Jeanette, known as Nettie, 52, died in Christchurch Hospital on Sunday after a four-year battle with cancer.

Diagnosed with breast cancer, the disease spread to her bones despite chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

She underwent surgery last Friday on a broken leg, but her condition deteriorated after the operation. She died surrounded by her family, on Sunday night.

Roy Appley, who was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 New Year's honours for services to police and the community, honoured his wife yesterday for her constant behind-the-scenes support.

He was the sub-area supervisor of the New Brighton police district when the February 2011 quake hit, and set up a food distribution centre at the New Brighton police station, co-ordinating community groups and volunteers to provide support and deliver food to affected families.

Appley also works as a counsellor for the Salvation Army and liaises with high-risk sexual offenders before they are freed from prison. He maintains contact with them to manage their risk to the community.

He was the police manager on a community justice panel being trialled by Community Law Canterbury.

"I couldn't have done anything I've done in the police without Nets quietly working in the background," he said. "She was always one of the first to help but never stuck around for praise [and] I never had a second thought things wouldn't be looked after at home."

Despite being unwell after the earthquake, Jeanette Appley provided baking, meals and clothing for the recovery effort and hosted displaced people at their Halswell home, where they moved four years ago after spending most of their married life in the city's east.

She was also active in the Salvation Army church and had a strong Christian faith, he said. Appley has been on leave since December to care for her fulltime.

He joked that with her father, two brothers and husband in police work, his wife would have ironed a police shirt at least 8000 times.

"All she wanted to do was be the best mum, the best wife and best person she could be. She achieved that, and it was enough for her," he said. "While I'll miss her support and encouragement terribly, I've got so many memories. That's what I'll use to sustain me."

Jeanette Appley's funeral will be held at 11am today at the Life Church in Upper Riccarton.

The Press