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Daughter of murdered RUC officer 'honoured' to remember victims

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Police Federation chief Mark Lindsay at the National Police memorial event in Glasgow yesterday with Margo Hetherington, whose RUC reservist father Jacob Rankin was murdered in 1978

Police Federation chief Mark Lindsay at the National Police memorial event in Glasgow yesterday with Margo Hetherington, whose RUC reservist father Jacob Rankin was murdered in 1978

The UK Roll of Remembrance which was presented

The UK Roll of Remembrance which was presented

Prince Charles at the ceremony

Prince Charles at the ceremony

PA

RUC reservist Jacob Rankin was murdered in 1978

RUC reservist Jacob Rankin was murdered in 1978

Police Federation chief Mark Lindsay at the National Police memorial event in Glasgow yesterday with Margo Hetherington, whose RUC reservist father Jacob Rankin was murdered in 1978

The daughter of a murdered RUC officer said last night she was honoured to have been chosen to light a candle in memory of police officers in Northern Ireland who have died in the line of duty.

Margo Hetherington MBE (52), from Castlederg, was just 11 years old when her father Jacob Rankin was murdered by the IRA in 1978.

Yesterday, she was among 1,500 officers, relatives and officials from all over the UK who gathered in Glasgow to honour UK police officers who died or were killed on duty at the National Police Memorial Day (NPMD) service.

This year marks the 16th National Police Memorial Day, held annually on the nearest Sunday to St Michael's Day, the patron saint of police.

Tributes to the fallen were led by the Prince of Wales and Home Secretary Priti Patel.

Margo was chosen to light a candle of remembrance at the service in the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow - one for each of the four parts of the UK.

"It was humbling and emotional," she said last night after the service.

"As I lit the candle I was thinking of all those who have died in service, and the dedication that they had given - no matter how they died.

"It's such a privilege to have been chosen to light a candle in memory of those who have died - to think that the police family still remembers the families and relatives from events away back then."

PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byrne met a number of widows and families of RUC and PSNI officers who had died or been killed in service.

Mr Byrne said: 'Whilst so moving and humbling, it was a also a huge privilege to have the opportunity to meet with police families from Northern Ireland whose loved ones paid the ultimate price in service of their communities.

"It is right and fitting that we take a moment each year to reflect and remember those who went before us and others who continue to put the safety of others above their own.

"I can never fill their shoes but I can ensure their sacrifice is not forgotten."

There are more than 4,400 names on the Roll of Remembrance for the UK - 10% of them officers from Northern Ireland.

At this year's service, the Roll was presented by PSNI Constable Rachel Switzer.

One of the organisers of the annual event is Mark Lindsay of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland.

"This has been a very emotional day," he said following the service.

"When you see sons, daughters and widows of colleagues who have died, you cannot help being moved to tears."

Stephen White, a former RUC and PSNI Assistant Chief Constable, who is now chairman of the RUC George Cross Association, led one of the prayers at the service.

National police chaplain Canon David Wilbraham said: "This special day gives us the opportunity to come together as a nation to remember our loved ones, friends and colleagues who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the communities they served.

"It is an honourable day and a poignant reminder of the dangerous nature of policing."

Just last month PC Andrew Harper (28) was killed near the village of Sulhamstead in Berkshire when he was dragged under a van while responding to reports of a burglary.

Belfast Telegraph