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COPS Service of Remembrance

30 August, 2019

British Transport
Police Federation
August 30, 2019

COPS Service of Remembrance

As a Federation we support several charities which provide crucial support and services to police officers and their families, as well as those which honour the service of officers who are no longer with us.

This summer, Debi Rouse travelled to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to join Care of Police Survivors (COPS) for their annual Service of Remembrance. COPS is dedicated to helping families rebuild their lives after the death of a police officer on duty. It aims to provide the survivors with help to cope with their tragedy whilst remaining part of the police family.

Having attended the service last year Debi knew what to expect but still found the experience emotional, as she explains:

It's that time of year again. I left a very hot and sunny Wales to drive to Tamworth to attend the annual dinner for COPS. As I was alone, I was hoping to meet up with some of the lovely people I had met last year.

I arrived to an overcast sky which very quickly gave way to an absolute deluge of rain. This continued through the night and for the whole of the following day. I got myself ready, choosing a more comfortable casual dress then I had worn last year, and walked into the venue feeling a little apprehensive; I suddenly realised I couldn't remember the names of the people I met last year or what they looked like!

I got myself a drink and made my way to the spot where I had been able to wriggle my way into their company previously. As I got nearer, there she was… Geraldine: a mother and Survivor. Geraldine lost her daughter, Jacqueline Brown, on 6 June 1989 when the 23 year old Hertfordshire Police officer was tragically killed on duty. To my surprise, another lovely lady - who later told me she was 80 years old - recognised me straight away and greeted me with a hug and kiss, as did everyone else.

The evening dinner was a cacophony of conversation around the room and our table was joined by newly promoted Chief Constable Gary Forsyth of Bedfordshire Constabulary.

The Remembrance parade on Sunday was poignant as always. The talk given by a Survivor at the service brought a lump to my throat; they are, after all, talking about people like me, us, you.

The rain kept coming and it was as though I had been time warped back to the previous year. I took my place in the throngs of people to walk 'The Beat' and on to the British Transport Police memorial tree where I laid our wreath. I noted that an epaulette and blue ribbon that was left last year for PC Justine Barringer were still in place.

I chatted with PC Andrew Redmond who is a Unity Rider* for the Force and we intend to liaise and get a much bigger team for the British Transport Police next year. Already the response in Wales is huge so we hope force wide we will be able to get a formidable team to send and support this very good cause.

I would like to say again I am honoured to have joined COPS at their very special memorial weekend and hope that I do get a chance to meet with Geraldine again. Either way we are now officially friends on Facebook, and I have little doubt we will remain in touch.

*The COPS Unity Tour is a 220 mile charity bike ride which takes place every July to raise money for the charity.