A special service for the WPCs


This was held on Wednesday 19 September at St Barnabas' Church in Hattersley to give local people a chance to gather and remember the two policewomen killed nearby in a gun and grenade attack. The deaths of Nicola Hughes, 23, and Fiona Bone, 32, have horrified the whole country.

Dale Cregan, 29, is being held on suspicion of their murders and two others.

Our picture shows the altar-piece featuring the officers' names, created to provide a focal point for prayers.

Priest-in-Charge at Hattersley parish, the Revd Lesley Harding, said the service was organised as an opportunity for the local community to come together and pray and reflect on the situation.

Another service will be held this coming Sunday at St Michael and All Angels Church in Mottram.

Among those who attended the church service in Hattersley were local authority councillors and Jonathan Reynolds MP. During the service there was a reading from St Matthew’s Gospel (5:1-16), which included this line from the Beatitudes, Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. There was also some poetry and music – including Margaret Rizza’s ‘Oh Lord, Listen to my Prayer’.

The Revd Harding said: “This is a sad and awful thing that has happened. Two people who were doing their duty, trying to make our community safe, lost their lives in terrible circumstances.” She spoke on the radio following the service.

The Revd James Halstead, Vicar of Mottram-in-Longendale – within whose parish boundaries the killings happened – also took part in the service at St Barnabas’ Church, Hattersley. He spoke on radio and regional television news programmes about the tragedy, and was interviewed on ITV1’s News at Ten and BBC1’s Breakfast news.

There will be another service of reflection for the local community on Sunday 23 September starting at 4pm at St Michael and All Angels Church, Mottram. All are welcome to attend.

The Revd Halstead said: “As a local community a process of healing and recovery from these awful events will now begin. That process will take a long time, of course, but we hope another step on the journey will be made at our service on Sunday.”

The Bishop of Stockport, the Rt Revd Robert Atwell (pictured below), also spoke about the tragedy to the media. Here's what he said on BBC Radio Manchester ...

“My heart goes out to these families of Fiona and Nicola.  What a devastating thing to happen. Here were two lovely young women, really committed, hard-working police women, just responding to the call of duty, going out to deal with what seemed to be a normal call on an ordinary day with a suspected burglary, and then just being shot down in cold blood. No wonder their families are devastated and all their colleagues in the Greater Manchester police too.”

Bishop Robert also said he was concerned for the people of Hattersley and Mottram in the wake of the tragedy. “These are communities in profound shock… these are good communities and there are people there who are living decent and good lives and they are profoundly shocked by what’s happened in their midst. I’m really concerned about them this morning and indeed for their reputation and self-esteem as communities.”

He added that the Vicar of Mottram had been taking food to the local food bank around time of the shooting just a few hundred yards away. The bishop said people and churches in the local area were “trying to support poorer families … and care for them” and that was “testimony to the quality of the community life there, the care and compassion awake in the community”.