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Hertfordshire Police Federation

National chair opens up about losing his Mum as part of ‘Day of Reflection’

12 March 2021

National Federation chair John Apter has spoken about the heartbreak of losing his Mum during the pandemic to help raise awareness of this month’s up-and-coming National Day of Reflection.

Federations and forces across the country have pledged their support for the day to remember those who have died since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Led by the charity Marie Curie, the day will be taking place on 23 March, exactly a year to the day that the World Health Organisation declared the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic.

John has shared his experience as part of the campaign, after his ‘funny, kind and generous’ Mum, Joyce, sadly died in August, following a six-month battle with lung cancer.

“My Mum was the best mum you could wish for,” he said, in an article featured in the Daily Express, “She was always there for us. Being the youngest of three, I was the baby. We could speak about anything and everything.”

When Joyce’s condition deteriorated, she was admitted to hospital where she also had suspected Covid-19. This meant she was in an isolation room with no visitors.

“This was so hard for us and the family,” John added, “Mum was scared and needed us to be there.”

After being cleared of coronavirus, Joyce was moved to St Mary’s Hospital on the Isle of Wight, which was specifically for end-of-life care. Joyce died soon after, having made some ‘wonderful memories’ with her family, playing music and drinking Baileys in her final days.

“I still struggle with her loss,” said John, “But knowing how much she was cared for in her final weeks brings me lots of comfort.”

John and millions of others across the country will be remembering their loved ones during the National Day of Reflection, with events including a minute’s silence at noon, as well as people taking to their doorsteps at 8pm to shine a light in a ‘beacon of remembrance’.

A total of 28 police forces have offered to support the campaign, with John adding: “We’re proud to come together with the rest of the nation to support Marie Curie’s day to reflect and remember.”

The National Association of Retired Police Officers will also be joining those remembering, with member Brian Burdus adding: “We are supporting the National Day of Reflection, as all our 93,000 members will have been affected in some way by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Federation is encouraging those who have dealt with loss or are bereavement, especially while at work, to reach out for support if they need it.

Find out more about the National Day of Reflection.

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September 2022
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