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Remembering fallen colleagues

Leicestershire's Austin Jackson was among the officers honoured at this year's National Police Memorial Day service held at St David's Hall in Cardiff yesterday.

Austin was taken suddenly taken ill while out on patrol on the St Matthew's estate on 16 March this year and died the same day. He was just 38 and leaves behind a wife and four children. The service was attended by chief officers, Federation representatives from across England and Wales and Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Leicestershire Police Federation was represented at the service by Sergeants' representative, Sanjay Chauhan who was a pallbearer at Austin's funeral at Leicester Cathedral.

Austin was listed as one of six officers who have lost their lives since the 2016 memorial day service, held at St Paul's Cathedral in London last year. The names were read out by national Police Federation chair Steve White. The other officers were:

DC Joe Mabuto (42) of Thames Valley Police who died on 27 September 2016.
Inspector Mark Estall (45) of Essex Police who died on 5 January 2017.
PC Paul Briggs (43) of Merseyside Police who died on 21 January 2017.
PC Keith Palmer QGM (48) of the Metropolitan Police who died on 22 March 2017, and
PC Gareth Browning (36) of Thames Valley Police who died on 1 April 2017.

Individual tributes to all the officers were also included in the programme for the National Police Memorial Day service. Austin's page included a comment from Chief Constable Simon Cole who said: "Austin was always a professional and well-liked police officer who embedded himself in the St Matthew's community. He was a much loved, popular and hard-working officer."

The service began with processional music led by the band of the South Wales Police and Corps Drums and a welcome from the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Bob Derbyshire, before a new book of remembrance, provided by The Police Roll of Honour Trust, was dedicated with prayers led by Canon Adrian Gatrill of Police Chaplaincy UK and the swearing of an oath of allegiance by all serving officers led by Chief Constable Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council.

Along with hymns and prayers, which included participation from the family members of four fallen officers, the Cor Meibion Llanelli male choir performed two songs and the Home Secretary gave a reading from the gospel of St John.

During the act of remembrance four candles were lit, one for each of the four nations of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with family members again taking part in this part of the service.

PC Lowri Davies, daughter of PC Terence John Davies of Gwent Constabulary who died on 23 August 1990, aged 34, lit the candle for Wales.

Thelma Corkey, widow of Reserve Constable Samuel Snowdon Corkey, who died on 16 November 1982, aged 41, lit the candle for Northern Ireland.

Laura Wiggins, daughter of PC Douglas Wiggins, Police Scotland, who died on 3 May 2016, aged 55, lit the candle for Scotland.

Pamela Knee, sister of PC John Egerton, Greater Manchester Police, who was murdered on 11 March 1982, aged 20, lit the candle for England.

As the National Police Memorial Day Orchestra played Abide With Me and the Last Post was sounded, petals of remembrance, representing all who have lost their lives, fluttered down from the gallery in a very moving feature of the service. After a moment of silence, Reveille was sounded.

The service ended with an act of dedication, led by South Wales Chief Constable Peter Vaughan, a blessing led by the Archbishop of Cardiff George Stack and Archbishop of Wales John Davies, and the national anthems Land Of My Fathers and God Save The Queen.

Next year's National Police Memorial Day service will be held in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Sunday 30 September 2018.