Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom has said this year’s Care of Police Survivors (COPS) Service of Remembrance made the support it offers survivors even more valuable after last year’s event was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The COPS service was held at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire yesterday (Sunday 1 August).
Liz said: “We did the best we could in the circumstances last year but there is nothing quite like going to the arboretum where survivors can feel properly supported.
“The love and support is always there but actually attending this service makes that support tangible and that is so valuable.
“I met and supported one of our survivors, Christina Lee, who lost her husband PC Alan Lee in a collision in 2002 on his way to work. It was her first time at the event and I know she found it moving and was so pleased her husband is still remembered. One of our Police Unity Tour cycling team rode in his honour.”
The service this year included a poem read by Samantha Dixon, the widow of PC James ‘Dixie’ Dixon who died in a motorcycle accident in 2017. Samantha was six months pregnant at the time and named their son Parker Cameron James Dixon as a tribute to PC James Dixon.
Her poem, ‘Never A Passenger’, was a both emotional and light-hearted account of her life as a widow and single parent.
Other addresses were from the chief executive of COPS, Tim Buckley, the charity’s national president, Gill Marshall.
The names of the 27 police officers and staff who died during 2019 and 2020 were read out in the roll of honour and included those who died from coronavirus. There was also a heartfelt reading from Ali and Sandi Gibb, whose son Daniel also died in a motorcycle accident in 2010 on his way to his first shift with his father.
There were two songs from singer Diane Whylie and the laying of wreaths before the COPS chair of trustees, Sir Peter Fahy QPM, closed the service. The families and colleagues of fallen officers then moved to The Beat to place red roses on the tree planted as a memorial to their loved ones.
Liz also said she was proud that some Cambridgeshire officers had joined the Police Unity Tour of cyclists who travel to the arboretum to raise funds for COPS every year.
They were led into yesterday’s service by the Blue Knights, a fund-raising group of serving and retired law enforcement officers who are motorcycle fans.
Days before the COPS service, HRH The Prince of Wales attended the unveiling of the new UK Police 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.