"We will remember them" Thousands remember fallen police officers at York Minster service (From York Press)
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"We will remember them" Thousands remember fallen police officers at York Minster service
THOUSANDS of family, friends and colleagues remembered fallen police officers at a service at York Minster to honour those killed in the line of duty.
The annual National Police Memorial Day service, which pays tribute to officers killed on duty throughout the UK, was held only weeks after the deaths of PC Nicola Hughes and PC Fiona Bone, who were killed while on duty in Greater Manchester.
Every pew was packed as North Yorkshire Police’s temporary Chief Constable, Tim Madgwick, and Home Secretary Theresa May joined the congregation.
The Archbishop of York , Dr John Sentamu, led the service, which was attended by more than 2,000 people, including 40 chief constables, other serving officers and the relatives of those who have died.
The family of PC David Haigh – one of three people murdered by Barry Prudom, who went on a killing spree in 1982 with Malton -based Sgt David Winters also among his victims – were among those who attended.
PC Haigh’s son, Richard Haigh, was chosen to light one of four candles to represent each of the four nations of the United Kingdom.
Speaking to The Press before the service, the 34-year-old, of Harrogate, said: “To light a candle on behalf of the English Constabulary is a big honour for me and my family, for my dad and the other fallen officers.
“We are one big family in the police service – we are all there to support one another.”
He attended the service with his mother Annette, brothers Micheal and Carl and extended family, including the grandchildren that his father never got to see.
Brian and Margaret Goodman, whose son, Special Constable Glenn Goodman, was shot dead on the A64 near Tadcaster on June 7, 1992, by an IRA gunman, said yesterday’s service was the ninth annual National Police Memorial Day they had attended.
Mr Goodman said: “There is sadness, but there is gladness. There are lots of tears, but also laughter. People here are all in the same boat.
“We owe a great deal to the founder of this event, Sgt Joe Holness, his wife and his army of helpers. The National Police Memorial Day brings us all together.”
After readings and prayers, the congregation became awash with colour as thousands of blue and green petals of remembrance, representing all those who had lost their lives, floated gently down from the Minster’s Triforium.
Mark Botham, chair of the North Yorkshire Police Federation, told The Press: “It is very important to show that we have not forgotten the sacrifice that so many people have made for the police service. It is very poignant being here in York; it was 30 years since PC David Haigh and Sgt David Winters were murdered and 20 years since Glenn Goodman was killed. This is about showing that every police officer who has given their life will always be remembered.”
Paul McKeever, Police Federation chair for England and Wales, said: “This is an extremely important service for the whole police family.
“It gives an opportunity for family, friends and colleagues of fallen officers from all years to come together and to remember. This year is particularly poignant as we remember PC Ian Dibell (who was shot dead in Essex in July) and PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes whose bodies are yet to be lain to rest.”
During the modern policing era, which stretches back more than 180 years, more than 4,000 officers have been killed in the line of duty.
The event was founded by Sgt Holness, of Kent Police, in response to the killing in 2000 of PC Jon Odell, who was hit by a car as he carried out traffic checks.