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Memorial Day service honours fallen colleagues

HRH The Prince of Wales joined the Home Secretary, police officers and family members at Sunday's National Police Memorial Day (NPMD) service at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

The 13th annual memorial day honoured police officers who have died or been killed in the line of duty.

"This service is one of the most important dates in the policing year," says Tiff Lynch, chairman of Leicestershire Police Federation who attended the service with Federation secretary Matt Robinson, "Police officers of all ranks stand side by side with family members to pay tribute to fallen colleagues and show that their sacrifice is never forgotten.

"It is a moving service and serves as a reminder of the unique role police officers have in society as they put themselves in harm's way to protect the public."

This year, Leicestershire Police Federation provided a coach so that other officers and family members could attend the service and four officers and four retired officers made the trip to London.

Prince Charles, patron of the NPMD charity, joined a congregation of more than 2,000 people including 40 Chief Constables and a number of dignitaries.

The names of officers who have lost their lives during the past year were read during the service: Constable Douglas Wiggins, Police Scotland; Constable Sahib Lalli, Metropolitan Police Service; and Constable Dave Phillips, Merseyside Police.

There was silence as petals of remembrance, representing all who have lost their lives, fell from the Whispering Gallery as the orchestra played 'Abide With Me' and the Last Post was sounded.

Candles were lit by relatives mourning their loved ones and in remembrance of officers throughout the country who have lost their lives. This year's candles were lit by eight-year-old Abigail Phillips, daughter of PC Dave Phillips; Gaynor James, mother of PC Andrew Lloyd James, South Wales Police; Andrea Irvine, widow of part-time Constable Kenneth Thomas Irvine, Police Service of Northern Ireland; and Elaine Gordon, daughter of Sergeant Alan Ewen Gordon, Grampian Police.

Prayers were led by Angus Morrison, brother of DC James Morrison, Metropolitan Police; Alice Fisher, granddaughter of Reserve Constable William Wallace Allen, Royal Ulster Constabulary; Paul Bone, father of PC Fiona Bone, Greater Manchester Police; and Chief Constable Alan Pughsley QPM, Kent Police.

Inspector Joe Holness QPM, founder of NPMD, said: "For me personally, the day was undoubtedly the most poignant service in the history of National Police Memorial Day. This was my last service as national co-ordinator and to gather again where the inaugural service took place is somewhat surreal.

"National Police Memorial Day was an idea borne out of tragedy and I would never have dreamed that the charity and service would progress to have the standing it has today. My aim was to honour my fallen colleagues with a fitting annual service of remembrance and bring the nation together to do so.

"I extend my gratitude to everyone who attended today's service and for their ongoing support. It was a day filled with emotion but also with immense pride, and I know it meant a lot to the families and friends of our fallen colleagues to have our patron, The Prince of Wales, with us today."

As part of the service The National Police Air Service (NPAS) and The Police Service of Northern Ireland together conducted a formation fly past using three of the helicopters from the National Police Air Service fleet and an Islander aircraft from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.