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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 October, 2004, 19:02 GMT 20:02 UK
Police service remembers fallen
Patricia Mackay lighting a candle
Patricia Mackay, mother of murdered PC Nina, lights a candle
Almost 4,000 police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty have been honoured in the first National Police Memorial Day service.

Relatives joined senior police, the Duchess of Gloucester and Home Secretary David Blunkett for the service in St Paul's cathedral, London.

Kent constable Joe Holness campaigned for the service after a speeding car killed a colleague in December 2000.

It will be held annually at a different UK location each year.

About 2,000 people packed into the cathedral for the service, which included hymns, Bible readings and music from the British Police Symphony Orchestra.

Remembering

Relatives invited included Queenie Fletcher, the mother of PC Yvonne Fletcher, who was shot dead outside the Libyan Embassy in St James' Square in 1984 aged 25.

Leslie Oake, the widow of Detective Constable Stephen Oake, who was stabbed in death in 2003, also attended alongside Carol Swindells, the wife of Detective Constable Michael Swindells, who died aged 44 in Birmingham in 2000 after he was stabbed while attempting to arrest a suspect.

It's very important that our losses have been recognised
Widow Christine Fulton

Four relatives said a line of a prayer each before lighting candles for officers from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Patricia Mackay, whose 25-year-old daughter Nina was stabbed in London in 1997 while forcing entry to a flat, lit the candle for England.

Christine Fulton lit the candle for Scotland. Her husband Lewis died in 1994 aged 28 after he was stabbed attempting to arrest a knifeman in the street. He was posthumously awarded the Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct.

Dillwyn Wozencroft, whose 35-year-old son Garry died in 2000 when his police car crashed in pursuit of a stolen vehicle, lit the candle for Wales.

The candle for Northern Ireland was lit by Fiona Meyer, whose husband Gary, 34, was shot dead by terrorist gunmen while on patrol.

Blue and green petals of remembrance were then scattered into the central dome of St Paul's from the Whispering Gallery.

Fitting tribute

Pc Jon Odell
Pc Jon Odell was killed by a speeding motorist four years ago
After the service Mrs Fulton, whose son Luke was just seven months old when his father was killed, said: "It's very important that our losses have been recognised.

"Our officers give their lives in the line of duty and they do it for the British people.

"It was a fitting tribute here today, it was a lovely service."

In a letter of support for the occasion, the Queen assured families, friends and colleagues of police officers killed on duty that "their courage and dedication will not be forgotten."

Prime Minister Tony Blair also wrote a foreword for the service programme, praising not only the sacrifice of those being remembered, but the 'professionalism and quiet heroism' off all police officers.

Long overdue

PC Holness, who co-ordinated the memorial day and read a lesson from Philippians, said: "The thing that pushed me to put the proposal forward was the death of my colleague Jon Odell. He was conducting a road check in December 2000 in Margate when he was mown down by the driver of a car.

"His body was carried for several hundred metres and as a result of this brutal killing I decided that it was long overdue to have a memorial day to honour the courage and commitment of police officers.

A man was jailed for nine years after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of the traffic officer.

Almost 4,000 officers have died on duty in 175 years of policing.

Next year's service will be held in Wales.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Relatives and police remember fallen officers



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