Memorial unveiling for hero Blackpool cop

Supt Gerald Richardson
Supt Gerald Richardson
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A stone to commemorate a heroic Blackpool officer, killed in the line of duty 45 years ago, will be unveiled by his widow today.

Maureen Richardson will unveil the monument, at Aspire Academy, to mark the life of Superintendent Gerald Richardson, and the Memorial Youth Trust set up in his name that has helped more than 16,000 young people since it was established.

Around 100 civic dignitaries and police chiefs will attend the ceremony.

Supt ‘Gerry’ Richardson is the highest ranking police officer to be killed in the line of duty.

He was shot at point blank range after a raid on a jewellery shop 45 years ago today.

The memorial will be placed at Aspire, the site of the former Blackpool Grammar School, where Supt Richardson was a pupil.

The 1971 murder attracted attention around the world, taking place as robbers bungled a jewellery raid.

The 1971 murder attracted national media attention and sparked a country-wide manhunt for the culprit, ‘Fat’ Freddie Sewell – a member of a London gang who botched their robbery of Preston’s Jewellers in The Strand.

The five-man gang turned up later than planned at the jewellers, on August 23, 1971, and stuffed goods into bags.

Police were on their way as the robbers left, and a chase ensued, with Sewell spraying the street with bullets, wounding two constables.

As the gang hi-jacked a butcher’s van, Sgt Richardson pursued Sewell into an alley, where he was shot twice.He died later the same morning, aged 38.

Supt Richardson’s funeral brought the whole town to a standstill with tens of thousands of residents and visitors paying their respects.

Sewell was later sentenced to at least 30 years in prison.

Other members of the gang – John Spry, Dennis Bond, Thomas Flannigan and Charles Haynes – were handed sentences from 10 to 25 years.

Supt Richardson – who lived in Norbreck – was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his bravery.

And the Supt Gerald Richardson Memorial Youth Trust was set up in 1974, in his memory and is still active today.

It has given out more than £250,000 in grants to young people aged 25 or under who live or work within 15 miles of Blackpool Town Hall.

John Topping, of the Fylde Coast Academy Trust, said: “We’re expecting around 95 people to attend the dedication. The academy also has the stained glass windows from the grammar school.”