Manchester’s Lesbian & Gay Foundation has praised the city’s police service as the funeral of PC Nicola Hughes, who was murdered alongside her lesbian colleague PC Fiona Bone last month, has taken place at Manchester Cathedral.

On its website the LGF said that it would “like to offer our sincerest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of both PC Nicola Hughes and PC Fiona Bone who were both exemplary officers with Greater Manchester Police service and invaluable members of their local communities.

“The terrible tragedy of the circumstances of their deaths is a reminder of the huge debt that we owe our police men and women who put themselves in danger everyday in order to look after the public’s safety and security”.

Police formed a guard of honour outside Manchester Cathedral as officers carried the coffin of PC Hughes inside for the service.

Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester force, Sir Peter Fahy, paid tribute to PC Hughes.

He said she had a great sense of humour and “huge amounts of energy and initiative”.

Sir Peter added: “Despite her young years she was incredibly mature.

“Nicola in her dedication and professionalism in the way she carried out her duties showed that policing is not about muscle but is about reason, restraint and intelligence.

“She had a promising career ahead of her but was driven not by personal ambition but by service to the public in need.

“It is abhorrent that she met her death through an evil and dark act.”

The funeral of PC Bone will take place at the cathedral on Thursday morning at 10am.

The LGF added in its statement:

“With respect to PC Bone who was planning her civil partnership we must remember that there are many serving lesbian, gay and bisexual police staff who play a crucial role in serving their local communities and we would like to honour them.

“Our thoughts are with everyone at GMP and serving police officers everywhere. We are indebted to their bravery and they deserve our respect and support.”

The Police Federation is selling wristbands in honour of the officers, with all money raised to be donated to their families.

Dale Cregan, 29, is in custody charged with the officers’ murders, along with those of two other men.