“The last time I saw Bill was on the 19th of November 2009. He’d got a phone call in the late afternoon from his partner who was at Workington Police station saying it was being flooded.

“I remember it clearly, Bill saying ‘I’d better bring my wellies’. He was told to leave his car in Workington courts’ car park, which he did. And just like going on any other shift Bill said goodnight sweetheart, see you in the morning.

“I got a phone call later that night and I could hear them all laughing with Bill and singing Singing in the Rain at the top of their voices and it was bedlam. They were moving everything from the ground floor level and they were getting as much as they could up the stairs. And that was the last time I heard his voice.”

Just after five o’clock on the morning of November 20, not long before what would usually have been the end of Bill’s shift, Northside Bridge collapsed beneath him. He was following up a report that a car may have fallen into the River Derwent and keeping people off the bridge.

Hazel says: “I couldn’t rest that night, for no particular reason, I just couldn’t settle. I wasn’t worried though and eventually at about twenty past five I gave in and went downstairs and laid out two cups, one for Bill and one for me, for when he came in. He’d usually be in about half past six depending on whether he was held back.

“I heard a car door and I looked out and I thought it was Bill getting out of a police car and just thought he hadn’t been able to get his car out of the courts car park and so I put out another cup for whoever had brought him home.

“I was waiting to hear the garage door going up and then I heard a knock. I just though he’d left the remote control for the garage door in his car so I opened it and waited for Bill to come round.

“But it turned out to be Sandra, the family liaison officer, who came round the corner. And she didn’t have to say anything. I looked at her and said ‘Just say he’s alright. Just tell me he’s alright.’ But she insisted we went inside and we sat down and that was when she said that Bill was missing.

“I just thought ‘how am I going to tell my children?’ It was a normal Friday morning for them. They were getting ready to go to school. You can imagine, that morning was a nightmare. It was like walking through hell. Everything changed. Everything. The house was full of people. You feel as if you’re watching it happening to someone else. I was waiting for the phone to go, for someone to say he was alright. It eventually did ring at ten past one”.

Bill’s body had been found on a beach near Allonby. It was the day before his 45th birthday.

In the days that followed sacks of mail started arriving at the house in Egremont.

Hazel says the support she and the children received was overwhelming.

“People were writing from all over the county, from all over the country, from abroad. It was just unbelievable. People from all walks of life. Schoolchildren, the Muslim community. I kept saying however are we going to thank all these people?

“People were bringing us food. The garage looked like a shop there was so much food.

“Emma was seven. She was sat at the computer and she wrote a letter, all by herself, without any encouragement. Without my knowing, my sister Violet took it into The Whitehaven News and that’s how it got out.”

Emma’s letter, thanking everyone for their support, was printed in newspapers across the country.

In the days that followed, Prince Charles asked for a private meeting with Hazel and the children.

Michael Winner called Hazel to arrange for a memorial to Bill to be put up by his charity the Police Memorial Fund. She asked for it to be installed on Ramsay Brow in Workington. It was a place Bill would have passed on every shift. She couldn’t face going to the bridge to see the memorial there. To this day, she has never been able to visit the scene of Bill’s death.

In the last ten years there have been numerous events held to raise money for Bill’s charity. The Bill Barker Memorial Riders stage an event every May. There’s an annual Bill Barker Memorial Football Tournament as well.

Hazel has kept herself very busy but the pain never goes away. She says it’s their children, Simon, Melissa, Daniel and Emma Louise that keep her going.

“Ten years down the line it sometimes feels just months ago. I sometimes wish I could feel numb again, like I did at the time.

“But the support we’ve had from the local community has been amazing. It’s never stopped. The people of Cumbria are amazing, they really are.”