'Bricks and mortar that contain many memories': Anniversary marked in style at town's police station
PUBLISHED: 19:53 21 June 2019 | UPDATED: 19:53 21 June 2019
Reflecting on the past and looking to the future, a poignant ceremony has been held to mark the 40th anniversary of a town's police station.
Held on Suffolk Day, a good turnout of invited guests, police officers past and present and police staff gathered at the flagpole outside of Lowestoft police station to mark the occasion.
After opening on June 22, 1979 the building on Old Nelson Street in Lowestoft contains "many memories, experiences and great work by dedicated officers and staff," according to those who have served there.
Ther special occasion was marked with a ceremony that featured speeches by retired superintendent and former local commander John Everett, local policing commander Supt Paul Sharp, Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, Lowestoft Mayor Alice Taylor and East Suffolk Council vice chairman Keith Robinson.
The Rev Matthew Payne, vicar of Christchurch in Lowestoft and police chaplain, then gave a blessing to the building as prayers were shared and thanks were given "to everyone who has worked and served here."
There was then time for a ceremonial cake to be cut as the special anniversary was marked in style.
With the former police station site based in Regent Road before the move to its current headquarters in Old Nelson Street, one of those who was based at both stations in Lowestoft was retired officer Robin Keightley.
He said: "I remember when the station was built here, but prior to that there used to rows of houses for police officers.
"There was a great sense of family here (back then) and that is still apparent today.
"The flat roof of the building was constructed at the time to accommodate helicopters, even in those days."
For retired superintendent and former local commander John Everett it was a memorable occasion.
Mr Everett said: "I came here as sector commander in 2000, at the time it was suggested I was being sent here as a punishment.
"But nothing could have been further from the truth - it was my happiest time in policing (here) and the most rewarding time in my police service.
"We have always had an excellent working relationship and great camaraderie here."
He recalled how current superintendent Paul Sharp was the Whitton beat officer during his years overseeing policing, while Lowestoft Rising change manager Phil Aves was his former detective inspector.
Mr Everett added: "I really enjoyed the atmosphere and the nice thing about Lowestoft is there is a great family feel here.
"I remember how in 2002 when the Harrier crashed at the Air Show I was silver commander at the time and it was all about the team effort - an amazing response working around the recovery of the aircraft and with the RAF.
"It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve here."
Inspector Claire Simons was praised by Supt Paul Sharp for organising the ceremonial event.
He said: "This is a real honour for me."
Having joined Suffolk Police in 1994, Supt Sharp has served "every role here at Lowestoft" and he added: "I would like to thank all my colleagues for their hard work over the years.
"We do have something special here - and you all make it special."
Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: "What a wonderful day.
"Lowestoft is a great place and this is about all of you - you are here right at the heart of the community and a really big thank you goes to you all for what you have done."
Similar sentiments were shared by the mayor of Lowestoft, Alice Taylor.
She said: "This is a special time - 40 years of this building marks what you have done.
"On behalf of the people of Lowestoft thank you to every single one of you."
East Suffolk Council vice chairman Keith Robinson said: "I remember this station being built, and as a Lowestoft lad all my life I thank you all for your wonderful service."
In Tweeting their thanks afterwards for a memorable day, a Lowestoft Police spokesman said of the station: "Bricks and mortar that contain many memories, experiences and great work by dedicated officers and staff."