Added poignancy for COPS memorial service

The secretary of Dyfed Powys Police Federation has said this year’s Care of Police Survivors (COPS) Service of Remembrance was made even more poignant since the event could not go ahead in 2020.

The servic at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire on Sunday (1 August) paid tribute to the police officers and staff who died during 2019 and 2020, including those who lost their lives due to Covid-19.

Federation branch secretary Roger Webb said: “The care and compassion at yesterday’s service, and every other year we’ve been able to hold the service, is palpable and so valuable to the families and friends of our fallen colleagues.”

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 and 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. 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.

Last week, HRH The Prince of Wales attended a ceremony to mark 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.