Tribute to 999 services

An artists impression of the Gynn Square Emergency Services Monument.
An artists impression of the Gynn Square Emergency Services Monument.
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A STUNNING new monument is set to honour Blackpool’s heroes of the emergency services.

Poignantly, it will overlook the seafront location where three police officers drowned while bravely trying to save the life of a holidaymaker in 1983.

After four years of fund-raising, plans have now been submitted to Blackpool Council seeking permission for the four six foot high figures representing the police, fire brigade, ambulance service and coastguard to be placed in the sunken gardens at Gynn Square.

It is believed to be the first memorial of its kind in the country honouring all four 999 services.

More than £30,000 has been raised to pay for the sculpture and it is hoped the moving tribute, set on an elevated platform, will be in place early next year.

It will then be dedicated at a special service to be held during next year’s Veteran’s Week.

The monument will incorporate a plaque to the three officers who died in 1983 – Colin Morrison, Gordon Connolly and Angela Bradley – but it will also be a reminder of the daily perils faced by all 999 workers.

Solicitor Dana Gledhill, who has led the fund-raising campaign, told The Gazette: “The aim is to commemorate not only those who have sadly lost their lives, but also the work the emergency services do in our community every single day.

“There will be four figures, interlinked to depict co-operation and strength, made from a core of steel surrounded by highly polished blue Perspex.

“They will be underlit so they will glow blue in the dark.

“The emblems of each of the emergency services will be engraved on the plinth.

“We don’t think there is anything honouring all four services, as this will do, anywhere else in the country.

“We hope to have the monument in position during the early part of next year with a view to dedicating it during Veterans’ Week.

“Our latest fundraising event was the Blue Light Ball in September which was just after the shooting of the police officers in Manchester which made it very poignant and we held a minute’s silence.

“I think this will be an appropriate tribute to all those who have lost their lives.”

Police officers Morrison, Connolly and Bradley died when they tried to save a man who had gone into the sea to rescue his dog opposite Gynn Square in January 1983.

Rachel Baines, chairman of the Lancashire Police Federation, which represents the county’s rank and file officers, said: “An awful lot of work has gone into making the monument a reality.

“I think it will be a fitting tribute to those who have lost their lives in the course of duty, and those working every day to protect the people they serve.

“And it is appropriate it represents all four of the emergency services who often work so closely together.”

The monument has been designed in Blackpool by Matthew Titherington, manager of Golden Mile attraction Madame Tussauds.

He said: “I’m very proud my design was chosen for such a fantastic memorial which celebrates and remembers the work the emergency services do for us here in Blackpool.”

Contractor George Cox and sons has agreed to build the foundations and project manage the scheme free of charge.

Fund-raising will continue after the monument is in place including the continuation of the annual Blue Light Ball, in order to maintain the gardens and also to support other local good causes.