News

Metropolitan Police Service ‘Run To Remember’ the attacks of 2017

Three Metropolitan Police officers, one of whom is an Honorary Life Governor of the Royal Humane Society, have run nearly 20 miles around London to remember all those affected by recent terrorist attacks and significant tragedies in the capital, and to highlight the welfare of the emergency services who responded.

The aim of the memorial run, which took place on the fourth anniversary of the London Bridge terrorist attack, was to remember the many victims of those tragic events in 2017, but also to highlight the trauma and mental health issues suffered by some of the emergency services who so gallantly responded to the attacks and to the Grenfell fire disaster.

Three Metropolitan Police officers, one of whom is an Honorary Life Governor of the Royal Humane Society, have run nearly 20 miles around London to remember all those affected by recent terrorist attacks and significant tragedies in the capital, and to highlight the welfare of the emergency services who responded.

PS Darren Laurie, and his colleague PC Keith Malda (who helped organise the event but did not run) were first responders at both the Westminster and the London Bridge terror attacks and were heavily involved in saving multiple lives. Darren acted as a medic at both incidents, overseeing the rescue effort and ensuring casualties were getting first aid. He helped treat some very serious and traumatic injuries and was the last officer to leave Westminster Bridge, eight hours after the attack started. Five people were killed and 49 wounded at the Westminster Bridge/Palace of Westminster attack, and 8 were killed and 48 injured during the London Bridge/Borough Market attacks. Darren and Keith were recognised by the Royal Humane Society for their bravery and were each awarded a Bronze Medal and Second Award Clasp, which is an exceptionally rare double award. Fifteen other Metropolitan Police officers received Royal Humane Society Bronze Medals for their brave actions during those terrorist attacks. Subsequently, both Darren and Keith were awarded the Society’s Police Medal, and earlier this year the Chairman of the Royal Humane Society invited both officers to become Honorary Life Governors of the Society, an offer which they kindly accepted. Since then both Darren and Keith have played an active role as ambassadors for the Society, spreading the word and widening awareness.

Run to Remember Trio
The Run To Remember team. From L to R - PC Darren Sanders, PC Mick Gibson and Sgt Darren Laurie. Photo by Jason Bye.
Darren Laurie - Met Run
Photo by Jason Bye
The route taken

During their 20 mile run the officers stopped to pay their respects and to lay flowers at the National Police Memorial and four sites of 2017 terror attacks – London Bridge, Westminster, Parsons Green and Finsbury Park mosque – as well as at Grenfell Tower, where the tragic fire occurred just two weeks after the London Bridge attack.

Sgt Darren Laurie said: “We are remembering the victims and those who were injured in those terrible attacks. There are still people living today with injuries as a result of those incidents’’. He went on to say “We also want to highlight the ongoing welfare of all emergency services, those who attended these incidents but also those who suffer trauma from day-to-day events. We’re remembering what happened that year in London, but we’re also very conscious of what happened at the Manchester Arena that year too. We all know officers who were affected following these incidents or similar ones. Sometimes there is delayed trauma – police officers, ambulance staff and firefighters carry that stress forward, and even four years after those events in 2017 I am still getting phone calls from people saying they are struggling a little bit. And so today was about raising the welfare of not just police officers but all emergency services.” He also said that their experiences at Westminster had prepared them for the horrors of the London Bridge attack just weeks later. He said “We learnt things on that day that certainly helped us later on. But it was also the attitude of the officers that really made the difference. That group of officers were so good at dealing with critical incidents, but we recognised quite early on that some of our team had been affected quite dramatically by the incidents. Some of us became Blue Light Champions for the welfare of our colleagues as much as anything else. That still remains. We’re still aware that it’s not gone away for some people – and that is an ongoing issue for police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and ordinary civilians who responded to the situation.”

When asked about the run Darren added: “It was a tough 20 miles and it was very hot, but we’ve covered every step of every mile regardless of the injuries that we were all carrying. For us it was about marking the day and we are most grateful for the support that we received along the way. They were seen off at the start at Parsons Green by the RHS Chairman, John Grandy, and senior Trustee, Rupert Novis.

Rupert Novis, PS Darren Laurie, John Grandy, PC Darren Sanders, and PC Mick Gibson at the start.
Rupert Novis, PS Darren Laurie, John Grandy, PC Darren Sanders, and PC Mick Gibson at the start.
RHS Sec, PC Darren Saunders, PS Darren Laurie, PC Mick Gibson
The RHS Secretary with the runners besides the PC Keith Palmer memorial, Westminster

Ken Marsh, Chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, met them at the National Police Memorial on the Mall, and later they were cheered on by the RHS Secretary, Andrew Chapman, who caught up with the trio at Westminster. The run ended in the garden at Southwark Cathedral where the Rev Andrew Zihni greeted them and conduct a brief but poignant service.   

The Society congratulates Darren, Mick and Darren for completing this very worthwhile but gruelling challenge. The Society’s purpose is to recognise bravery and the saving of life and we admire and will continue to support all those members of the emergency services, as well as ordinary citizens, who place themselves in danger for the sake of another human being.

Darren Laurie at Southwark Cathedral with Rev Andrew Zihni
The Reverend Andrew Zihni takes the service in Southwark Cathedral garden. Photo by Jason Bye.

The Royal Humane Society – Activities during Covid-19 Restrictions in 2020

Overview

The year 2020 will be remembered by everyone as a most extraordinary time. People across the globe experienced lockdowns, harrowing bereavements, and severe economic difficulties. For our part, the Royal Humane Society managed to keep functioning in line with government restrictions.

During the year we continued to receive nominations from organisations and the public for acts of bravery and lifesaving, and there was only about a 20% reduction in nominations. With the ability to work remotely from home the Society’s Awards Committee made 842 awards to citizens who saved a total of 349 lives. The downside was that we were unable to hold our Annual General Court, normally in the presence of our President HRH Princess Alexandra, or investitures or medal ceremonies where awardees would have been recognised in public, and so unfortunately the majority of these awards were made locally or by post.

Only one scaled down event was held at New Scotland Yard in late August in between the initial lockdown and the subsequent tier regime. The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Dame Cressida Dick DBE QPM, presented PC Allan Parker with the Royal Humane Society’s Police Medal for 2019. PC Parker had previously received a Silver Medal for his brave actions when saving a suicidal teenager in the fast lane of a motorway during the morning rush hour. His actions were judged by the Society to have been the most gallant by a police officer that year. The Commissioner then presented DC Natasha Holing with her Bronze Medal for her bravery when she and colleagues rescued several families, some with children, from a burning block of flats (note – her colleagues PC Neil Dobson and PC Jamie Normal received Bronze Medals, and PS Paul Wooley a Testimonial on Vellum, at an earlier ceremony when DC Holing was on long leave in South Africa).

PC Allan Parker MPS - Police Medal 2019
PC Allan Parker MPS – Police Medal 2019
DC Natasha Holing MPS - Bronze Medal
DC Natasha Holing MPS - Bronze Medal

Stanhope Gold Medal 2020

The Stanhope Gold Medal, which is normally considered in late November at a meeting attended by our President, had to be cancelled. Nominations were received from fellow humane societies in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and the Liverpool Shipwreck & Humane Society. The meeting was run remotely with the RHS Chairman and Trustees, supported by the Chairman of the Liverpool Shipwreck & Humane Society and the associated High Commissioners submitting their votes by email.

The recipient of the Stanhope Gold Medal was Mr Nicola Gilio from New South Wales, in Australia for his heroic actions when he overwhelmed a knifeman who had attacked and then assaulted a young girl. Mr Gilio was badly wounded in the fight. He will be presented with his Stanhope Gold Medal by the Governor of New South Wales in March 2021.

Awards made in 2020

Stanhope Gold Medal

Nicola Gilio – New South Wales 2020

Note – Richard Stanton MBE GM, and John Volanthen GM were jointly awarded the Stanhope Gold Medal for 2019 for their bravery during the Thai cave rescue. Due to the Covid – 19 pandemic we were unable to present them with their Stanhope Gold Medals in person.

Silver Medal

Lloyd Bishop

PC Allan Parker

Police Medal

PS Darren Laurie

PC Keith Malda

PC Allan Parker

Bronze Medal

PC Harry Andrews

PS Alex Baldwin

Ian Bartley

PC Dave Bicker

Keith Burdon

PC Dean Cook

Daan De Vries

Richard Robert Dimmack

Michael Donaldson

PC Douglas Glaze

SC Karim Gouhar

PC Simon Helm

PC Natasha Holing

Insp Kevin Horn

Cdt Sgt Alex Jeanguillaume (15)

Yanek Kowal

PC Jess Langford

PS Darren Laurie & Second Award clasp

PC James Lawrence

Constable Gareth Maguire

PC Keith Malda & Second Award clasp

Constable Conor McMeekin

PC William Edward McMullan

PC Paul Mitchell

Claire Neaves

PC Maria Rasooli

CSgt James Peter Scovell RM

Ian Soakell

James Soakell

Supt Roy Smith

PS James Southgate

PC Brian Stew

Peter Anthony Wood

President’s Award

Cdt Sgt Alex Jeanguillaume (15)

Liam Pastore (15)

Testimonial on Vellum

45

Testimonial on Parchment

136

Resuscitation Certificate

374

Certificate of Commendation

255

Second Award Clasp

PS Darren Laurie and PC Keith Malda, both Metropolitan Police Service officers, were present at both the London Bridge/Borough Market and the Westminster Bridge terror attacks, and for their bravery received a second award Bronze Clasp, a very rare decoration.    

RHS Second Award Clasp (bronze)
RHS Second Award clasp (bronze)
RHS Bronze Medal with clasp mounted
RHS Bronze Medal with clasp mounted

At our most recent Awards meeting the Committee awarded PS Laurie and PC Malda the Society’s Police Medal, presented annually to the officer(s) considered to be most meritorious. When told the news PC Keith Malda wrote the following:

“It is a shock and an incredible honour to be awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Police Medal. Having looked at the past recipients of this medal and read about what they had done to receive their medals, I am humbled to join their ranks.

I will never forget the heroic acts that I witnessed my colleagues in the Police and London Ambulance Service perform on the day of 22nd March 2017 and the night of 3rd June 2017, along with the simply phenomenal acts that I saw the doctors, nurses and everyone in the hospitals perform on those two days. And of course, the ordinary members of the public that helped in whatever way they were able, became extraordinary members of the public on those days. I have been humbled to see the way that many of those who were injured physically or now carry a psychological injury have dealt with what they experienced on those days. 

I was not alone at Westminster or at Borough Market. I was surrounded by heroes. And I accept this medal on behalf of all of those heroes that were there on those days, and the people that continue to look after them today. This is OUR medal, and we are in tremendous company. Thank you.” – PC Keith Malda

Donations during the pandemic

The Society relies on donations from organisations and the public for it to be able to carry out its work.

Not unexpectedly donations last year fell by an average of 58% over the 10 months of the pandemic. This has created a significant challenge for us financially. In spite of continuing restrictions which look like inhibiting a return to normality for at least the next few months we are determined to continue our mission of awarding those who put their lives on the line to save others.