Newcastle – Rita’s last wish

For horsewoman Rita Meredith dreams really did come true as her wish “to smell and see a horse one last time” was granted at the Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospice on 9 March 2021.

Rita’s family, friends, staff, and the NSW Mounted Police rallied together to make the magical moment happen. Senior Constable Graham Lovett, Constable Nicole Harvell and horses ‘Don’ and ‘Hollywood’ travelled from Redfern and spent 90 minutes with Rita, allowing plenty of pats, sniffs and the swapping of stories about the job. For Rita, it was very fitting.

Originally from England, she made history in her early 20s when she was the first female in the UK to be accepted into a mounted police unit in 1968. Her first assignment was to help ensure the safety of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother during a royal visit to Tees-Side.

Emily Sykes, Rita’s daughter-in-law and a registered nurse at the Mater, said “I’m very grateful that someone as wonderful as Rita could get her last wish granted. To see the smile on her face and the love and mutual respect radiating out of both her and the police officers is something I won’t forget for a long time.”

Rita couldn’t believe what all the fuss was about and was very humble about just how important she was to the history of policing and women in general. Thank you again to the NSW Mounted Police for making Rita’s wish come true. Rita passed away peacefully less than 48 hours after her visit from the Mounties. “It truly was one last wish!” said Emily.

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