Poignant memorial service will remember police officer who died on duty
A young police officer who collapsed and died while on duty in Shropshire will be remembered at a poignant memorial service attended by his wife on Sunday.
Two of PC Andy Boardman's closest friends are taking part in a 200-mile Police Unity Tour which ends on Sunday at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
It's a charity ride to support for the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity.
PC Boardman's wife Luci, who is a fellow West Mercia officer, will be at the memorial service on Sunday standing alongside her colleagues.
During the event, not only will West Mercia participants wear a wristband specifically dedicated to a fallen officer they will also be wearing a black armband in memory of their colleague, 43-year-old Andy.
Ahead of this year’s ride, Andy’s wife and fellow West Mercia officer Luci, along with his colleague and good friend, Police Federation rep Rob Seewoosaha has paid tribute to the father-of-two.
“The mood was always lighter when Andy was around,” said Luci. “He was so kind and caring, we miss him incredibly. He has left a massive hole in our hearts and in our lives.”
Luci told how she and the couple’s two daughters talk about Andy "all of the time".
“I want it to be as normal as possible for the girls, talking about their dad,” she continued.
“He was always a really hands-on dad. Because I’m a police officer too, we couldn’t always get time off together, so he would take the girls away on his own in the caravan - he loved spending quality time with them.”
PC Boardman was aged 43 and who served with Shropshire Safer Neighbourhood Team for Broseley and Much Wenlock. He had been responding to an incident when he was taken ill and collapsed on April 11.
Rob said: "I first met Andy in 2017 and quickly, we became more than colleagues, we became good friends.”
Rob continued to explain how he, Andy and detective constable Lawrence Smith soon formed an ‘unbreakable trio’.
“It sounds bizarre but they felt like brothers to me,” said Rob.
“We respected each other so much. There was a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood between us.”
Having desperately campaigned to be deployed together, Rob told how they were ‘over the moon’ when the trio were picked to attend COP26 in Edinburgh in 2021.
“I’ll never forget the sound of Andy’s voice when he called me to tell me we’d all been picked to go to Scotland. It was great. We just knew how to work together,” he continued.
“I felt safe working with him. I really trusted him, and felts so much better if Andy was by my side in difficult situations.”
Rob recalls the moment he found out Andy had died, explaining how he was in disbelief and shock.
“I just felt a massive empty space form in my life,” he added.
The 200-mile Police Unity Tour, which began on Friday and ends on Sunday at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire with this year’s Memorial Service, raises money for the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity.
The gathering will also be remembering Special Chief Inspector Chris Smith who died on Sunday, July 23, having volunteered with West Mercia Police Force since 2003. Chris leaves behind his wife Kate and their three children
The West Mercia cyclists will join hundreds of others taking part in this year’s PUT, an event organised to honour fallen officers while raising vital funds for COPS, a charity that supports the families of those who have died while on duty.
A Just Giving page to support the charity has already raised more than £111,000.
The link for donations is https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/ukpoliceunitytour2023