Pride and Honour

I got up early today (5.00am), drove some considerable distance and negotiated my way to the city centre of Manchester using the Metrolink system to partake in the funeral of someone I did not know and had never met. Why would I do that you may ask.

The reason was because I attended the funeral of PC Fiona Bone so needlessly murdered, along with her colleague PC Nicola Hughes a few weeks ago. On such a sad occasion it may seem rather odd to say that I had a wonderful day. Yet I do say it.. and it was just that.

I went because I had to. I went because when I joined the police service over 20 years ago I didn’t join a force or a division or a team. I joined a national family built on honour, trust and integrity. Over 180 years of service and tradition. I wrote about this in my “Emotions”ย blog last year. Today was another of those days. There is an invisible thread that runs through every single police officer in the country. It joins us all together and whilst we work different shifts, in different counties and different countries we are all tied to it. When one of us falls we all feel it. We all feel the pain. Policing in this country is the best in the world. I’m proud to be a part of it yet the phrase “you never know what’s around the corner” is as true today as it was the day I joined the service.

Today, we stood shoulder to shoulder. Officers from every force in the country stood to show respect and admiration to our two fallen colleagues. We know in our heart of hearts that it could just as easily have been one of us. Yet we didn’t stand alone. We stood with our Ambulance and Fire Service colleagues. We stood with the Royal Military Police and we stood with the public. The strength and depth of emotion and support was palpable.

I have been in many busy cities. The constant noise of activity never fades. Yet today, stood on Deansgate the city fell silent. Thousands of people yet not a sound save the slow gentle tolling of the cathedral bell and the approaching sound of horses hooves leading the cortege. People going about their daily business stopped and stood silent. Office workers stood silently at windows and shops and businesses paused. There on the street the rank and file stood straight and true as guard of honour to one of our own.

During the day I was blessed to meet up with some wonderful people whom I have acquainted on twitter and was able to share the experience of the day with. I list them all below.

There is no getting away from the fact that the dreadful murder of Fiona and Nicola took the wind out of the sails not only of GMP but of the whole service. Yet in our darkest moments we find our greatest strengths. We have rallied, we have pulled together and we have stood strong, together, as a family should. Cut us; we bleed. Wrong us; we hurt. But no matter what you can not take away our pride. We stand strong. We stand undivided. We stand united. The greatest honour we can now show Fiona and Nicola is to pick up our duties where they left off and carry their memory and the fine traditions of British Policing into the future.

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine;

We let you go.

Into the dance of the stars and the planets;

We let you go

Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the star maker;

We let you go

We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy.

Go safely, go dancing, go running home.

God bless you Fiona and Nicola. You can both stand down. TOD complete.

 

*****************************************************

 

It was an utter privilege and pleasure to meet and share my day today with;
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19 thoughts on “Pride and Honour”

  1. Thank you for this article. As an ex police officer I can say that it sums up eloquently and accurately the deeply ingrained feelings and emotions resting on my heart. Keep up the good work all of you.

  2. Moving, touching & truthful to the very last word…I was not able to make either funeral as I was working but both PC’s were in my thoughts… RIP Fiona and Nicola.

  3. Thy represent those that have fallen before…..and those that follow the highest tradition of the Service

  4. I was at both from West Midlands (Coventry). All very moving, but a wonderful tribute to both Nicola and Fiona and also a good public demonstration that we are a large closely bonded family, irrespective of the design of the badge on the hat.

  5. I too am a recently retired officer. Your words covered my every thought, the pain I felt on that dreadful day was as if I lost a member of my own personal family.. I suppose really, I did. RIP to Fiona and Nicola.

  6. Couldn’t make either funeral due to shifts. Tear in my eyes watching them on TV.

    Thankyou for an excellent post that cuts to heart of what means to be old bill.

  7. Thank you. For representing me and every other police officer, up and down the country, who could not be there for one reason or another. I too, watched the TV coverage with tears in my eyes. RIP Nicola & Fiona.

  8. Beautifully written. I am still serving and will hopefully enjoy every moment of my next 5 years without complaint. Because, I have no reason to complain when I think of these two poor souls.

  9. There is a bond that links every single one of us who serves as a police officer in this country. When one of our own falls we all feel the pain and loss because we know it could be any one of us, and yet we carry on, in the face of hostility not only from the criminals we are trained to deal with, but from the willfully ignorant, be they press, public or politicians.
    The last few days have demonstrated what that bond means to all of us who serve, and what we mean to the vast majority of the general public, who know the good we do on their behalf.
    I am proud to be a police officer, and proud to have served the same profession as the likes of Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone. May they rest in peace.

  10. I too, stood there , for Nicola as well as for Fiona , with my colleague to say a proper farewell that I didn’t give them 45 minutes before they died , This was only because it was a typical everyday conversation that takes place 1000 times a day . A fitting tribute to two fine girls as well as a powerful demonstration of the unity of our police family regardless of the Machiavellian dealings above us
    To quote ” Today I went to work, today I came home – two of my colleagues didn’t”

  11. I am the mother of a police officer and I’m very proud of what my daughter does. The sadness I felt the day I heard of the shootings was immense. I feel so much for the families of these girls. The funerals were touching and memorable. A lovely tribute.

  12. As I couldn’t be there in person you have brought the occasions to life in words. I can’ t speak now, as tears are rolling down my face, and I remember fallen colleagues. I will go and do my duty tonight, as ever, proud of the job I do, and the people I stand shoulder to shoulder with on the thin blue line.

  13. As always your words calm,soothe and heal.
    Was a pleasure to meet you yesterday your being there helped so much- hope to see you again in happier times colleague xxx

  14. I shared much of Thursday with @TheCustodySgt. We met early on a cold, damp Thursday morning on the corner of a street, in a town in which neither of us belonged.

    We stood literally together, shoulder to shoulder, to line Deansgate, but we also stood together with all our colleagues from police forces across the UK, the Fire and Ambulance Services, HM Prisons Services and hundreds and hundreds of members of the public who stood, as we all did, compelled to be there, silent in utter shock and disbelief at what had happened on the streets of Manchester two weeks before.

    When the word ‘silent’ is mentioned above, it doesn’t mean the calming of the everyday noise of the hustle and bustle of one of England’s busiest cities – it really meant complete and utter quiet – no noise from the traffic; no noise from the shops; no noise from the people. I have never ever seen or heard anything like it before, on both days, and I very much doubt I will again.

    We introduced or ‘outed’ ourselves to many of our followers who had come to Manchester as a direct result of the #CoverForGMP appeal and to say a personal thanks to them; many others must have wondered what these crazy two bobbies were doing, constantly tapping away at their mobile phones, running up and down the lines, shaking hands then darting back and forth.

    Amongst the great sadness of the day we did find humour – for that is how the British police service survives; tweets back and forth like ‘can’t see you, do a jig’ and ‘go stand by that big round pink thing’ some may find coarse but as the saying goes ‘if you don’t laugh about it, you’ll only cry’ – and we did enough crying as it was.

    In the long list of fine Twitterers that @TheCustodySgt has mentioned above I must single out two that we made a point of finding and shaking their hand;

    @amie_holland for the gut-wrenching from the heart poem she wrote in her bedroom after the tragic events of September 18th, which has flown around the internet and media, and come to epitomise the feelings of every police officer in the land, and

    @avers7 there were no words to let Avers know how we felt, but no words were needed. We (myself, @TheCustodySgt and @SirIanBlair) approached each other as complete strangers from different parts of the country; never met, never spoken; never more than 140 characters on a keyboard, but in an instant we were all lifelong friends – the hugs and tears flowed freely, and as we sat in a nearby coffee shop, and talked about Fiona, that friendship and bond grew and grew.

    So, the next time someone tells you that Twitter and Facebook have no real worth; that they are just full of people who really need to ‘get a life’ – tell them they are wrong …. very, very wrong ! We have proven that beyond any doubt this last two weeks, all of us, together !

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