Family and friends are gathering to celebrate the life of a beloved paramedic who died while on the job.
Steven Tougher, 29, was taking a meal break at Campbelltown McDonald’s when he was allegedly stabbed to death inside his ambulance on April 14.
His shocking death rocked the emergency services and healthcare communities, who flooded social media with tributes to their beloved colleague.
Celebration of Steven’s life begins
More than 200 NSW Ambulance crew volunteered their time to cover shifts to allow Mr Tougher’s friends and colleagues to attend the ceremony.
NSW Ambulance Chief Superintendent Alan Morrison said everyone he has spoken to since Steven’s death has described his “big” heart and smile.
“One person described his heart as big and as tall as him,” he said.
The casket arrives. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dean LewinsHis coffin is carried in before a sea of blue paramedic uniforms. Picture: Supplied
The coffin is carried into the church by Steven’s loved ones before a NSW Ambulance flag is laid over it.
His father Jeff hugs a member of the NSW Ambulance service. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Bullard
‘Everybody Hurts’ by R.E.M plays over the start of the service.
A police escort is guiding the hearse towards the ceremony venue. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon BullardParamedics greet the car when it arrives. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon BullardIt is a sombre mood amongst the healthcare workers in attendance. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Simon Bullard
Loved ones and fellow paramedics are filing into the University of Wollongong with the formal ceremony set to begin at 11am.
Ambulance and police helicopters flew overhead as paramedics formed a guard of honour to escort Mr Tougher’s hearse to the venue.
His wife Madison, dad Jeff and sister Jess are all due to speak at the ceremony alongside his friends and a fellow paramedic.
Premier Chris Minns will also pay tribute to Mr Tougher alongside the Minister for Health Ryan Park and NSW Ambulance Chief Superintendent Alan Morrison.
Ambulance officer Steven Tougher, here with his wife Madison, was stabbed to death while at work. Picture: FacebookThe young couple had only married in March and were expecting the arrival of their second child in a matter of weeks. Picture: Facebook
NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dr Dominic Morgan will posthumously present the 29-year-old with a list of honours including a pandemic service medal and national medal.
Dad calls for harsher penalties for attacks on emergency workers
Heartbreaking scenes played out two weeks ago when more than 20 members of his family visited the scene of his death.
Mr Tougher’s wife Madison, mother Jillian, dad Jeff and sister Jessica during a press conference after a visit to the scene of his death. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Flavio Brancaleone.A floral tribute for Mr Tougher at the scene of his death. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Simon Bullard.
They lay flowers over the mountain of tributes placed by mourners and before sharing an emotional tribute to their “hero”.
His wife Madison and mother Jillian burst into tears after Mr Tougher lost his composure thanking emergency workers who put themselves in danger to try to save his son.
His wife Madison and mother Jillian burst into tears at the vigil. Picture: SuppliedLoved ones at his tribute. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ Flavio Brancaleone,
The young couple were married in March and were expecting their second child, a baby girl, to be born in a few weeks time.
His father is leading the charge for stronger laws to protect emergency workers and ensure what happened to his son never happens again.
His family is campaigning for ‘Stephen’s Law’ to better protect frontline workers. Picture: Facebook
“I hope that the loss of Steven will not be for nothing, and that is senseless act. can be a catalyst for change, to support better working conditions for his brothers and sisters in blue,” he told reporters at the time.
“Nobody deserves the grief that this event has brought forward.”
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He said he wants mandatory life sentences for offenders found guilty of killing emergency workers.
Jordan Fineanganofo, 21, has been charged with his murder and will face court again in June.