Derbyshire Police Federation

Anniversary service at UK Police Memorial

4 August 2022

Home Secretary Priti Patel joined the families of fallen officers at a special service marking the first anniversary of the dedication of the new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire.

Among those she met during the event, which was attended by more than 200 invited guests, was Wendy Stevenson, whose husband Bruce, died on 7 January 2013 after collapsing at Cotton Lane Police Station.

Wendy Stevenson meets Home Secretary Priti Patel at the service.

“It was good to be able to attend this service and to see that Bruce, and other officers who have died while on duty, are not forgotten by the police service,” says Wendy.

“The new memorial is a fitting tribute to fallen officers and provides a peaceful place where we as a family can reflect. By attending this service, and others organised by the charity Care of Police Survivors, I can meet up with other families who can fully understand my family’s loss.”

Among the other invited guests was Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton.

“I am impressed by the new memorial and its setting within the arboretum,” says Tony, “It is vitally important that we remember those who have given their lives while serving their communities and this memorial provides a focus for that.

“The service was attended by families of fallen officers, chief officers, Police and Crime Commissioners, politicians and Federation representatives and I was honoured to represent Derbyshire Police Federation and its members.

The new memorial was dedicated in July last year by HRH The Prince of Wales.

Among the families attending this year’s service, which was led by Canon David Wilbraham, the national police chaplain, was the son of Special Police Constable Ralph Corfield, also called Ralph, from Birmingham City Police (now part of West Midlands Police). SPC Corfield was killed on 28 July 1942, exactly 80 years to the day of the anniversary event, during an enemy air raid while helping to deal with the aftermath of an earlier bomb blast. 

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the murders of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, killed in Manchester in September 2012. Their fathers, Paul Bone and Bryn Hughes, gave a reading during the service as did Denis Gunn, the father of Richard Gunn who was killed in Woking in 2004.

Guests gathered at the service.

As part of the wreath-laying, a special floral tribute was laid by a representative from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) George Cross Foundation. This year marks the centenary of the establishment of the RUC. A total of 314 members of the RUC were killed in terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland, 302 of them between 1969 and 1998 representing the biggest loss of life of any UK police force. 

Since the memorial was dedicated last July, more than 300,000 people have visited the 40-feet iconic tribute at the arboretum. The bronze memorial designed in the shape of an open doorway signifies a threshold that police officers pass through to the “dangerous places” but from which some never return.

Floral tributes left at the foot of the memorial.

Speaking at the dedication ceremony last year, HRH The Prince of Wales said: “On behalf of a grateful nation, I want to express my immense gratitude for the courage and sacrifice of those who have laid down their lives to keep us safe and protect us from harm, remember their loved ones who mourn and pay tribute to those who continue to serve to safeguard our freedoms.”

Martin Hewitt, chair of the Police Arboretum Memorial Trust who addressed the service and led the reflection, said: “This memorial is a tribute to all those who have dedicated their lives to policing. Every day our officers and staff go out to police our cities, towns and villages not knowing the dangers they will face. They often put themselves in harm’s way to protect us and our property, and safeguard our freedoms. Sadly for some, they pay with their lives.”

 

 

 

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