Derbyshire Police Federation

COPS service honours fallen colleagues

26 August 2022

Families at the Derbyshire tree

DCC Kate Meynell (second from left) and Tony Wetton (fourth from left) with the families of fallen officers and the PUT riders.

A team of Derbyshire officers and staff cycled an incredible 180 miles to Staffordshire for the opening of a service of remembrance for those who have died in service.

They were among 300 riders from across the UK, including police and military personnel, who pedalled to the National Memorial Arboretum to attend the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) annual service on Sunday (21 August).

COPS provides ongoing support to bereaved loved ones of fallen officers and put them in contact with other ‘survivor’ families so that can support one other and form bonds of friendship.

Tony Wetton, chair of Derbyshire Police Federation, who represented the branch at the service, said: “I’m hugely proud and grateful to our colleagues who took part in the ride and showed our Force in such a positive light.  Their efforts, and those of the other riders, means such a lot to the families and reminds them that they are in our thoughts and that their loved ones, our fallen colleagues, are never forgotten.”

The service the NMA heard from COPS chief executive Tim Buckley and chair of trustees Sir Peter Fahy QPM. The West Midlands Brass Band played throughout the service and there were two songs from singer Diane Whylie, as well as the laying of wreaths.

Gill Marshall, national president of COPS, spoke of the death of her husband Alan on duty in 2006 and quoted CS Lewis: “He wrote ‘You too? I thought I was the only one.’ This is how friendships are formed.”

The PUT riders arrive at the arboretum.

Her words emphasised the theme of the occasion, which was that families can come together and find strength and support in their shared experience.

One such survivor, Emma Fields, wife of South Yorkshire PC Dave Fields who was killed in a car crash on duty on Christmas Day in 2017, spoke movingly of the awful moment their festivities were interrupted by a knock at the door followed by terrible news.

She said: “We’d watched the kids open presents, had Christmas dinner together and I’d kissed him goodbye saying ‘see you later’. Then I was a widow, feeling scared and wondering how my life could possibly continue without him.”

In the dark days after the funeral, Emma received a letter from COPS, and was put in touch with Angela, a local ‘survivor’ who had been through the same experience years earlier, helping her to realise that life could continue.

Watch the service - COPS Service of Remembrance | COPS UK (


March 2023