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Friday, 25 April 2014

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Hundreds celebrate life of Cumbrian PC Bill Barker

Hundreds of PC Bill Barker’s friends, family and colleagues gathered at the unveiling of a memorial to celebrate his life.

Bill Barker memorial
Guests at the memorial service included MPs Jamie Reed and Tony Cunningham

His wife Hazel was composed as she gave a speech about his childhood and family life, his favourite past times of target shooting and motorbikes and his time in the police force.

Cumbria’s Chief Constable Stuart Hyde, Lord Lieutenant Sir James Cropper and Deputy Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police Craig Mackey also spoke at Curwen Park ceremony in Workington.

Sir James presented Bill’s family with his Queen’s commendation for bravery.

At the service were the couple’s children Simon, Melissa, Daniel and Emma-Louise, Bill’s sister Julie Pullen and her husband James and Hazel’s mum Josephine Murray.

Members of the Western Roads Policing Unit, the Great North Air Ambulance and the Motorcycle Action Group came to show their support.

Also at the event were pupils from Workington’s Southfield Technology College and St Joseph’s School and Workington MP Sir Tony Cunningham.

PC Barker died during the 2009 floods, when Workington’s Northside Bridge collapsed.

He was directing drivers away from the bridge, which gave away under him.

Hazel said before the service: “I’m so touched by all the people who are here in recognition of Bill.

“We have had so much support. This is what I find so amazing and what means the world to me and the children.

“Bill was so much more than what happened that night. He was a hero before November 20, which is what we hope to show today.

“We will accept the Queen’s Bravery Award on behalf of all the officers who have lost their lives while on duty.”

Hazel added: “When Michael Winner got in touch we were asked where we wanted the memorial to go.

“We thought about Brigham because that was Bill’s Mecca and where the traffic division was based.

“We also considered St Bees because that was a special place for him and the children, but we eventually came back to Curwen Park, which was the first place we came to.

“A lot of his patrols were along this route and the significance of placing it here is because we’d like to think that Bill is still on duty protecting the public.”

The memorial stone which reads: “Near Here Fell PC Bill Barker 20th November 2009” is among the flower beds of the park above the magistrate’s court on Ramsey Brow.

It was planned by film director Michael Winner’s charity the Police Memorial Trust but Mr Winner was unable to make the service.

PC Barker’s family placed a wreath of white flowers, with a blue background, in the shape of his badge number 642 at the memorial.

A card with the flowers read: “Good night sweetheart. Love you and we’ll see you in the morning. Sleep peacefully.”


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