Care of Police Survivors (COPS) is a charity that supports the families of police officers and staff who have lost their lives on duty, and on the 28th July, I was honoured to attend its Annual Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas.
Hosted by Gill Marshall, COPS National President, the event began with the arrival of the Blue Knight Law Ride motorcyclists. They were followed by the UK Police Unity Tour cyclists, who had been travelling around the country to help raise awareness and funds for COPS – overall, they raised a staggering £200,000 for the charity.
Once the cyclists and motorcyclists had been welcomed, we attended the Service of Remembrance which was led by Gill. The ceremony included moving readings by police survivors George Parker, Angela Morgan, Greg Lashmar and Donna Cox, each of whom described their journey since their losses. Their stories were very emotional, but it was incredibly uplifting to learn how COPS has provided them with support and guidance during that time. The wreath laying ceremony was followed by a Roll of Honour, before we processed to ‘The Beat’ memorial, where force and personal wreaths and tributes were laid. This also provided an opportunity to spend more time with the families of those fallen officers and hear their stories in more detail.
The event finished with a lovely lunch, which gave us all a chance to speak further and learn more about COPS and its work.
I would like to say thank you to Graham Smout and the police cadets for their help during the ceremony and a special thank you to my cadets, Georgia, Alfie, Sapphire and Rebecca, who also attended.
However, the biggest thanks must go to COPS for its continued commitment to helping those who have lost loved ones rebuild their lives.
“We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.”