Lincolnshire’s Chief Constable Neil Rhodes will open the force’s new memorial garden this week, one of his last official duties before retiring at the end of January.
On Wednesday he will see the culmination of a project dear to his heart, and which he has personally overseen since 2015, when he hosts the ceremony.
When Lincoln couple Burt and Val Hills bequeathed the force £98,000 early in 2015, Mr Rhodes decided he wanted the money to be used as a lasting memory to the couple who held the force in such high esteem.
“When we learned that Val Hills had left the force such a generous legacy, I didn’t want it simply disappearing without trace,” he said. “A group drawn from various sections of the force decided it would be appropriate to use the money to fund the relocation of the force’s memorial garden in remembrance of all those who have died whilst serving with Lincolnshire Police. The new location provides easy access to relatives and friends wishing to spend some quiet moments of reflection.”
Parkwood Consultancy Services won the design competition to create the main area and Durham based sculptor Graeme Hopper was commissioned to make the central sculpture. One word from each of Sir Robert Peel’s original nine pillars of policing is carved into each of the nine stone pillars – Prevention, Approval, Cooperation, Proportionate, Impartiality, Restorative, Relationships, Humility and Integrity.
Graeme Hopper’s work on the central sphere depicts the community protected by five petals each representing an element of PRIDE – Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Dedication and Empathy. He crafted the sculpture from mild steel which he galvanised and finished with a special weatherproof coating.
Mr Rhodes said that throughout his 31 years of service he had the pleasure of working with some truly incredible officers and staff. “Sadly some of those I worked with are no longer with us and for that reason this garden in their memory is particularly important to me,” he said.
The Bishop of Lincoln the Rt Revd Christopher Lowson will bless the garden and address the audience of relatives and friends of those who died in service. Lord Lieutenant for Lincolnshire, Tony Dennis, will then cut the ribbon officially opening the garden and guests will be invited to a reception in Headquarters.