Officers celebrate 100 years in saddle

Former Lancashire Police mounted officer Fred Nelson, from Thornton, with PC Maureen Green and 'Elswick' at Hutton.

Former Lancashire Police mounted officer Fred Nelson, from Thornton, with PC Maureen Green and 'Elswick' at Hutton.

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POLICE officers past and present gathered to celebrate the centenary of the “pillar of policing” – the mounted branch.

Among the 50 mounted officers taking part in the events at Lancashire Police’s headquarters was 83-year-old Fred Nelson, from Thornton.

The retired mounted officer spent 35 years with the branch and said it was a job he “enjoyed to the very end.”

Mr Nelson joined the mounted branch in 1949, following in the footsteps of his father – Fred Senior – who was also a mounted officer with Lancashire Police.

He added said: “I spent 35 years as a mounted officer and couldn’t have asked for a better job.

“You could say it was in my blood, my father being a police officer too, and it was something I enjoyed to the very end.

“I live in Thornton now and it was great to come back and see so many former colleagues. Seeing all the historical pictures and videos really brought the memories flooding back to me.”

The centenary celebrations, which took place in Hutton on Friday, featured a video and photographic display on the history of the branch, a public order demonstration by several of the branch’s horses and a sit-down lunch.

Deputy Chief Con Chris Weigh, gave a speech and a raffle also took place to raise money for the force benevolent fund for officers who have passed away or fallen on hard times.

The event was organised by PC Dave Palmer-Davies and PC Adrian Philips.

PC Palmer-Davies said: “It was a real privilege to host some of the legendary officers of the mounted branch.

“They will be the first to tell you that although the branch may have changed over the years, it continues to be a pillar of policing in Lancashire and something that still plays a prominent role.”

The branch’s first stables were on Church Street, in Preston, where 50 horses and officers were employed. Most officers were recruited from the cavalry of the British Army and traditionally wore white flat hats as they were part of the newly-formed traffic department.

The current stables were purchased in 1936 and today’s branch has 14 PCs, two sergeants and 18 horses.

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