Fallen officers remembered at National Police Memorial Day

Posted on September 29, 2015 | Category :Uncategorized | Comments Off


SCOTLAND’S First Minister Nicola Sturgeon hailed the “incredible bravery” of officers as she opened this year’s National Police Memorial Day in Edinburgh.

Ms Sturgeon was among 1,200 police officers of all ranks, politicians and families of fallen officers who attended the 12th annual service on Sunday 27 September. Denis Gunn, President of Care of Police Survivors, was in attendance alongside his wife Carol (pictured). 

The event honours all officers who have given their lives on duty.

“Each day, right across the country, police officers make an incredible contribution to our communities and we recognise and value the incredible bravery they display as they undertake their duties, often in extremely dangerous situations,” said Ms Sturgeon.

Police officers remembered this year were PC Kevin Stoodley, of Avon and Somerset Police; PC Russ Wylie, of Humberside Police; and PCs Jonathan Relph and David Arthur, both from the Met.

Tributes were also paid to those who tragically died in the 2013 Clutha helicopter disaster, with a wreath laid in their memory by Police Scotland’s Air Support Unit.

Ms Sturgeon said: “We will never forget their courage, and my thoughts are very much with families, friends and colleagues of those who have died. I hope they are reassured and comforted by our continued respect and gratitude for the contribution made by their loved ones.”

The event’s patron Prince Charles was unable to attend this year. However, in a note to the congregation, he said the event gave the country the chance to “commemorate those brave souls who have given their lives in the service of the public”.

Prince Charles added: “History has demonstrated that our freedom often comes at a price. When difficult situations are encountered, then ultimate protectors of freedom and justice are the brave men and women of our police service.

“Today’s service is a poignant reminder of the importance of our policemen and policewomen, and the extreme and complex dangers that they face daily.”

During the service, prayers were led and candles lit by relatives from Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales, in remembrance of their loved ones and officers from throughout the British Isles.

These included one from Mark Nelis, husband of PC Kirsty Nelis, who died in the Clutha tragedy.

Home Secretary Theresa May gave a reading and the congregation stood as the Piper’s Lament played, while petals fell in remembrance of lives lost.

Brian Docherty, Chairman of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “National Police Memorial Day gives everybody in the police family a chance and opportunity to remember not just our own colleagues who have fallen in the line of duty, but other colleagues up and down all over the United Kingdom, to be with their families and their friends and share their memories. It makes you very, very humble when you hear some of their stories.

“It’s a privilege and it’s an honour to host the event in Scotland once again. I was at the event in Glasgow four years ago and I’m hoping everyone gets as much out of it this year again.”

National Police Memorial Day was founded in 2004 by Kent Police Sgt Joe Holness, who described it as an “honourable day and a poignant reminder of the dangerous nature of policing”.

He added: “This special day gives us the opportunity to come together as a nation to remember our loved ones, friends and colleagues who have made the ultimate sacrifice whilst protecting the communities they served.”

Next year’s service returns to London for the first time since the event’s launch

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