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Ground-breaking start to new UK police memorial in Staffs
Work has begun on a new UK Police Memorial which will result in the creation of a fitting tribute to commemorate those police officers and staff who have been killed on duty across the country since the formation of the pioneering Bow Street Runners in 1749. The £4.5 million memorial will be built at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire. Work on the memorial got underway with a ground-breaking ceremony at the Arboretum. And there to dig out the first sods of earth were the fathers of police constables Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes, two Greater Manchester Police Officers, who were killed on duty in September 2012. They were murdered when they were ambushed while responding to a fake report of a burglary.
Bryn Hughes (left) and Paul Bone start work on new UK Police Memorial
The new UK Police Memorial has been designed by Walter Jack. It has been created for both personal acts of reflection by family and friends and major ceremonial events, with lawn space for around 1,500 people. The central arena will include a leaf-shaped stage, as well as seating and trees. The path leading to the open space will be flanked with memorial walls bearing the names of police officers and police staff who have been killed whilst on duty over the last 270 years. Construction work on the project will take place during 2020 and completed by the end of the year. The Memorial will be dedicated and open to the public by the Spring of 2021.
How the new police memorial will look. Courtesy of UK Police Memorial
The chair of UK Police Memorial trustees, Sir Hugh Orde, said: "The National Memorial Arboretum is the place where all our services are remembered throughout the year. A place where people come for quiet acts of contemplation and reflection and a place where large scale acts of remembrance take place. Yet there is no fitting tribute here that honours those brave men and women from our Police service who have given their lives to protect us all. A tribute that is in keeping with the scale of loss that our Police service has suffered over the years. Today is the day that we change that. How fitting that today's ground-breaking will be carried out by Paul Bone and Bryn Hughes, whose daughters were shot and killed whilst responding to a routine 999 call, eight years ago. When we set out on this ambitious project in 2015 we had no idea how challenging it would be. Along the way we have overcome many hurdles and setbacks. But after five years of determination, amazing support and dedicated fundraising we have finally reached the position where construction of the new UK Police Memorial can start."
Paul Bone (left) and Bryn Hughes (right), the fathers of murdered police officers, either side of Sir Hugh Orde
Sir Hugh, the former president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, added: "The last few months have demonstrated to us all that we live in an uncertain world. Yet something we can be certain of, is that every day police officers will go out to patrol our cities, towns and villages, not knowing the dangers that they are likely to face or confront. Sadly there are some that won't return home at the end of their shift. Their courage and sacrifice will now be commemorated and remembered forever here at the National Memorial Arboretum." Further information about the UK Police Memorial can be found by visiting www.ukpolicememorial.org. Find out more about the Arboretum by visiting www.thenma.org.uk