90 days from today is Sat, 24 December 2022
2 August 2021
This year’s Care of Police Survivors (COPS) Service of Remembrance included emotional addresses from a police widow and single parent and bereaved parents who lost their son.
The service was held yesterday (1 August) at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Last year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic so yesterday’s roll of honour included fallen police officers and staff from 2019 and 2020. The COPS national president, Gill Marshall, read out 27 names with the charity also recognising those who had died due to Covid-19.
The chair of Hertfordshire Police Federation, Geoff Bardell, said: “This annual tribute to our fallen colleagues is always difficult but also comforting.
“This year felt even more moving as the absence of a proper service last year made everyone realise the value of connecting with other people in the same situation, sharing the same grief, experiencing the same struggles.”
The event began with the arrival of the Blue Knights, a fund-raising group of serving and retired police personnel with a motorcycle interest, followed by the Police Unity Tour cyclists, who also raise funds for COPS, each wearing a wristband dedicated to a fallen colleague.
There were addresses from the chief executive of COPS, Tim Buckley and national COPS president Gill Marshall.
Samantha Dixon, whose husband PC James Dixon died in 2017, talked about her own experiences and read her own poem ‘Never A Passenger’ which was an account of her life now as a widow and single parent. Ali and Sandi Gibb, whose son Daniel died in 2010 on his way to his first shift with his father, then spoke of their loss.
Singer Diane Whylie sang two songs and the West Midlands Brass Band played throughout the service which ended with the formal laying of wreaths and a closing address from the COPS chair of trustees, Sir Peter Fahy QPM. The families and colleagues of fallen officers then moved to The Beat, a corridor of chestnut trees, to place red roses on the trees that have been planted as memorials to their loved ones.
The service followed a visit last week by HRH The Prince of Wales who unveiled a new memorial at the arboretum. The 12-metre sculpture, designed to resemble a slightly ajar door with cut-out leaves to represent the lives of lost officers, will provide a place for family, friends, colleagues and members of the public to remember fallen officers.