Merseyside’s Police Commissioner is asking the public to give a ‘Gift for Courage’ this Christmas in support of the Police Arboretum Memorial Trust festive campaign launched in partnership with Twitter.
The campaign aims to honour and remember fallen police officers who will be commemorated on the new UK Police Memorial to be built at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
From now up until Friday 4th January 2019, the Trust will tweet out the historical names of officers who died on duty each day and this will be complemented with personal Christmas video messages from the families of the fallen. As part of the campaign people will be directed to the UK Police Memorial website www.ukpolicememorial.org to make an online donation or to text COURAGE to 70171 to make an immediate £5 gift.
As well as making donations, the Trust wants the public to get involved and show their support for those who have laid down their lives from our Police service by tweeting out messages of tribute and uploading their own video messages of thanks using the hashtag #gift4courage.
The campaign is raising money for the Trust’s Memorial fund which aims to create a physical memory of 4,000 police officers and staff who have died on duty as well as creating a Living Memorial fund that will support their families. The Memorial will cost £4.5 million to establish and to date £3.7 million has been raised. The Trust aims to complete the project by 2020.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “This memorial will ensure the legacy of police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in serving their communities lives on. Sadly, some of the names that will go onto the memorial will be officers from Merseyside, including PC Dave Phillips who gave everything in his commitment to keeping the communities of the Wirral safe.
“This memorial is important not only for the relatives, friends and colleagues of fallen officers, it is also a focal point for the whole police family and the wider public to remember the service, dedication and selflessness of these officers and ensure their bravery is never forgotten. I would encourage people to support this Christmas appeal if possible and use social media to pay their own tributes.”
Sir Hugh Orde Chair of Trustees said: “This time of year is about families coming together to celebrate the festive season. For some there will be an empty seat at the table of those who went out to work to police our cities, towns and villages and sadly never came home. We owe them all a debt of gratitude and to remind them and their families that they will never be forgotten.
“We have all heard the term community policing and what better way to honour and commemorate the sacrifice made by police officers and staff than for the twitter community to come together and pay tribute to them with their own Christmas messages of thanks, using the hashtag #gift4courage.”
Since 1687, 239 officers have been killed and died on duty between 17th December and 4th January. Although some historic cases will be highlighted during the campaign, including that of former Met Commissioner Sir Richard Mayne, who was found dead in his office at Scotland Yard on 26th December 1868, the Trust will feature all deaths since 1970 in its twitter messages.