People in Leeds urged to support fundraising campaign for new police memorial

A book of remembrance for Ian Broadhurst is signed at Leeds Parish Church, now Leeds Minster, in 2003.
A book of remembrance for Ian Broadhurst is signed at Leeds Parish Church, now Leeds Minster, in 2003.
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They selflessly gave their lives while keeping our streets safe from the menace of crime.

Now a major campaign has been launched to raise funds for a new memorial to more than 1,400 police officers and staff who have died in the line of duty across the UK.

Sharon Beshenivsky.

Sharon Beshenivsky.

The focal point for remembrance would be situated at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

And yesterday the campaign won the backing of a woman who knows all too well the dangers faced by members of the thin blue line.

Cindy Eaton, whose police officer son Ian Broadhurst was shot dead in Oakwood, Leeds, in 2003, said: “It’s definitely something that I would support.

“The police go out to work every day but they and their families don’t know if they will be coming back.

John Speed.

John Speed.

“The contribution they make to all of our lives should be recognised.

“As far as I am concerned, they are a brotherhood and they are the tops.”

Other officers killed on duty in Yorkshire in recent times include PC Mark Goodlad, whose car was hit by an HGV while he was helping a stranded motorist on the hard shoulder of the M1 near Crigglestone, Wakefield, in 2011.

PC Sharon Beshenivsky was gunned down during a robbery in the centre of Bradford in 2005.

Special Constable Glenn Goodman was murdered by an IRA terrorist while carrying out a car check near Tadcaster in 1992.

Sgt John Speed was shot dead in 1984 after going to the aid of a colleague who had been attacked near Leed Parish Church, now Leeds Minster.

Sgt Michael Hawcroft was stabbed to death in 1981 while trying to catch a car thief in Low Moor, Bradford.

The launch of the memorial campaign follows the death of PC Keith Palmer in the Westminster terror attack in March.

Backing the fundraising, Nick Smart, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “A permanent and dedicated memorial to police officers is most definitely something we support.

“Most countries have such a memorial, and it is only right that the UK – a country which is regarded as having the best policing model – has a place where families and the public can attend to personally reflect and honour the memory of a loved one.

“After recent events highlighting the sacrifice police officers make, and the sacrifices we have sadly seen in West Yorkshire with the loss of colleagues such as Ian Broadhurst, Sharon Beshenivsky and Mark Goodlad, we ask and encourage the public to get behind this and show their support.”

Campaigners leading the push for the UK Police Memorial estimate that it will cost £4m.

Their drive to raise that money has been backed by the Duke of Cambridge, who wrote in a letter: “The United Kingdom is recognised around the world as the home of modern policing but, as recent events have reminded us, that rich heritage is interwoven with a history of sacrifice.

“More than 1,400 police officers and staff have died in the line of duty, and it is high time a police memorial in the National Memorial Arboretum existed to act as a focal point for remembrance and gratitude.”

The project is being led by the Police Arboretum Memorial Trust and its chairman, Sir Hugh Orde, said he was “delighted” to have secured William’s support.

A total of £1m has been committed to the fund by the Government, with Home Secretary Amber Rudd saying: “It is entirely fitting that those officers and staff who give their lives in the line of duty should be remembered with a lasting tribute.”

She added: “I hope the public also take this campaign to their hearts and recognise the importance of establishing a permanent place of remembrance.”

The National Memorial Arboretum is the UK’s centre of remembrance.

Planting of 30,000 trees began in 1997 at the site, which stretches across 150 acres.

It has a large number of different areas dedicated to sacrifices made for the country by the Armed Forces and others.

The proposed police memorial would include an interactive space telling the stories of fallen officers.

If all goes according to plan with the fundraising, then it is hoped the new memorial will be completed by 2019.

For information about making a donation to the campaign, visit the website.

Anyone contributing more than £20 will receive a black and white wristband inscribed with the words “courage and sacrifice”.