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New joint memorial garden to police officers, firefighters and staff welcomed by families

October 17, 2020
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A new joint memorial garden unveiled in honour of police officers, firefighters and staff who died serving the public in Nottinghamshire has been welcomed by families who have lost loved ones.

The garden is an integral part of the new joint police and fire headquarters being built at Sherwood Lodge, was formally unveiled at a ceremony yesterday (Friday) afternoon.  

Set in newly landscaped grounds at the heart of the new joint campus, the garden contains two memorial stones and a memorial wall containing the names of all the people from both organisations who have died in public service.

The names of 116 men and women who have died in service have been added, with entries dating all the way back to the 19th century.

They include PC Robert Stamford, who died on 21 January 1850 as he was escorting an escaped prisoner, and Firefighter Clifford Fardon, who was killed by a bomb as crews and pumps from Nottingham rushed to support colleagues in Coventry during the devastating air raid on 14 November 1940.

Other names include PC Christopher McDonald, who was murdered in May 1978 after chasing a suspected burglar, PC Ged Walker, who was fatally injured on 7 January 2003 as he attempted to arrest a suspect, and Firefighter James Quickenden, who died on 22 March 1999 after collapsing during a training exercise.

PC Walker’s widow Tracy Walker said: “This memorial garden is something I have wanted to see for a long time and I am delighted that it has now been completed. Its position at the centre of the new joint headquarters is appropriate because I know it will be seen by so many staff and visitors in the years to come. It is also fitting that it remembers all those members of the police family who have died in service, as well as on active duty.

“I really want the garden to become a place of reflection and learning for future generations of employees from both organisations who will take time to look at the names on the plaques and remember them through private thoughts or discussion between other colleagues. Each plaque will generate a memory for someone who visits and a permanent reminder for future generations.”

A socially distanced unveiling ceremony held yesterday was attended by senior representatives of both services, as well as family members and civic dignitaries. This included chaplains from both the fire and police who gave dedications at the service.

Chief Fire Officer John Buckley said: “It is very humbling to be able to represent the service and to honour those who have sacrificed their lives in the service of others. Thankfully, it is rare for a firefighter to lose their life in the line of duty, but when they do, it is devastating for their families, friends, colleagues and wider emergency service family.

“It is hoped that this memorial garden will provide some comfort to families and friends and serve as a fitting tribute to their dedication and courage, ensuring that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

Chief Constable Craig Guildford added: “This memorial is a poignant and permanent reminder of the risks faced by police officers and firefighters every time they go to work in the service of the public.

“Its position at the centre of the new joint headquarters is appropriate not only because it reminds us of a joint history of service and sacrifice; but also because it will serve as a daily reminder to staff of both organisations that our work is ultimately about the same thing – putting ourselves in harm’s way in order to keep the public safe.”

Professor Dame Elizabeth Fradd, High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, attended the event as a representative of The Queen. She said:  “I am delighted to have been invited to the opening of this memorial garden. I hope it will provide a place of peace and reflection for our busy police and fire service staff.

“Over recent months they have had to find additional personal strengths and skills to manage situations in even more complex circumstances than usual. I am extremely grateful to them all, as I know the public are too.”

Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “The garden is a lasting legacy for those servicemen and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice as a result of their work to keep others safe.

“We should never take it for granted when the emergency services run into the face of danger and put their own safety second in order to protect and save lives. They do this without expectation of praise or recognition and are very often reluctant to accept credit.

“Every day I applaud the professionalism and courage of our police officers and firefighters and it is only right that we honour those from Nottinghamshire who lost their own lives in the line of duty with this peaceful garden.  It is a poignant tribute to their bravery and selflessness.” 

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