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Service of Remembrance to police who died in line of duty
A special service has taken place in memory of all police officers and staff who have lost their lives on duty in the UK. The Care of Police Survivors (COPS) annual Service of Remembrance was held on Sunday 28 July at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. More than 1,000 people, including the surviving families of fallen officers, police staff and chiefs, as well as members of the public attended the emotive service at Alrewas, near Lichfield. The annual service is organised by COPS, a national charity that supports the families of police officers and staff who have died on duty.The event brings together survivors and the wider police family to provide a valuable opportunity for people to reflect and remember their loved ones, friends and colleagues. During the event at the Arboretum a Roll of Honour was read out to pay tribute to the five police officers who died on duty during the past 12 months. Four family members who had lost loved ones addressed the gathering and spoke to share memories of their officers and talk about how they had been supported by COPS.
A wreath laid to Cleveland Police during the Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum. Credit Care of Police Survivors
Despite last week's heatwave and torrential downpours, officers and survivors took part in the Police Unity Tour (PUT), which involved more than 460 riders and their support teams cycling the length and breadth of the UK. Their efforts culminated in a ride into the Arboretum ahead of the Service of Remembrance, with each cyclist representing an officer who lost their life on duty, as well as raising funds for COPS. This year the Unity Tour is set to raise more than £200,000. The Blue Knights, a motorcycle club for police officers, also paid tribute to the fallen by riding into the site as part of the Blue Knights Law Ride. The service was the conclusion of the charity's annual Survivor Weekend, a two-day event bringing together the families of officers who have died on duty to form friendships and lasting bonds. The weekend included an outing to Drayton Manor Theme Park for younger survivors, as well as relaxation sessions, craft workshops and more for the adults.
The Police Unity Tour arrives at the Arboretum. Credit Care of Police Survivors
Survivor and Family Liaison Officer, Samantha Dixon, 36, attended Survivor Weekend and the Service for the second time this year with her 16 months old son Parker. Samantha's husband, PC James Dixon, of Thames Valley, died in 2017. She said: "I was feeling nervous and a bit reluctant about going to Survivor Weekend last year as I hadn't long lost my husband. I wasn't sure if I was ready but everyone was so welcoming and I soon realised that sadly I wasn't on my own. I found myself surrounded by people who understood the loss of a police officer who had died doing their job and never came home which was very comforting. It's so important for people to get together to remember our loved ones and to support each other at the Service of Remembrance."
Hundreds of people join the Service of Remembrance. Credit Care of Police Survivors
COPS Chief Executive, Tim Buckley, said: "This is the biggest event in the COPS calendar and it's a chance for us to get as many survivors together as possible to support one another in rebuilding their lives. Being able to witness first-hand the power of peer support is undeniably powerful, as the weekend unfolds you see many new friendships being made and old ones reignited." Since its foundation in 2003, COPS has helped hundreds of families devastated by the loss of a loved one in the police service. For more information about the work of COPS, please visit ukcops.org. People can also sign up for a free quarterly newsletter by clicking on ukcops.org/newsletter-consent.php