Saturday 23 March 2024

Public Service pensions will rise by 6.7% from 8 April 2024

Public service pensions which have been in payment for a year will be increased by 6.7% from 8 April 2024 in line with the September-to-September increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Any pension which has been in payment for less than a year will be increased by a proportionate amount depending on the number of months it has been in payment.

More information can be found here on the UK Parliament website:

Written statements – Written questions, answers and statements – UK Parliament

Monday 18 March 2024

Death of a retired Police Officer: PC 1660 Joseph (Joe) Robert Butters

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the death of a retired Police Officer, PC 1660 Joseph (Joe) Robert Butters, who died in Hollie Hill Care Home, Stanley on Sunday 3rd March 2024, aged 88 years.

Joe joined Durham County Constabulary in 1956.

As a young Constable, he worked at Middleton Teesdale where he was tasked with keeping the Irish workers in check.  He also policed Bishop Auckland and was able to name all of its 51 Public Houses, which he had duty to patrol.

During the early part of his service, he has hoped to get into CID, however as he owned a motorcycle and was a proficient rider, was encouraged to take a posting in the Motorcycle Section.  Joe also worked the Motorway.

For many years, he was the driver to a number of Durham’s Chief Constables.

Leading up to his retirement he was involved in the setting up a Crime Prevention Office at Force Headquarters, securing a decommissioned bus, which was kitted out to become a mobile exhibition vehicle, advising on home security.

When Joe retired in 1994 after 38 years’ service and was at that time one of the longest serving officers in Durham, something that his family are very proud of.

Joe is survived by son James, daughters Judith and Jane and grandchildren Amy, Sophie, Emily, James and Hannah.

A funeral service is to be held at 11.30am Wednesday 20th March 2024 at Durham Crematorium, South Road, Durham DH1 3TQ.

Family flowers only, donations in lieu to St Cuthberts Hospice.

After the funeral, friends are invited to join the family for light refreshments at Judith and Steve’s house in Chester-le-Street.

Our thoughts are with Joe’s family and friends at this sad time.

Sunday 17 March 2024

Death of Retired Police Officer: Insp 412 Paul Garfoot

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the death of retired Police Officer, Insp 412 Paul Garfoot, who died at home on Tuesday 5th March 2024, aged 69 years, having been ill for some time.

Paul joined Durham Police as a Cadet in 1970 and was appointed as a regular Police Officer on 21 March 1973.  After initial training he was posted to Stanley.  His Police career within Durham saw him serving in both the North and South of the County, including Crook, Bishop Auckland, Peterlee and Seaham.  He also spent a number of years with Traffic Patrols (North).

Paul met Janet, his wife, in 1971 when they were both Police Cadets in Durham; Janet also went on to join Durham Constabulary as a Police Officer and they married in 1975.

In 1984, Paul transferred to Dorset Police and was based at Dorchester and was seconded throughout most of 1984 in the Midlands, during the Miner’s Strike.  However, he and his wife, Janet, deeply missed the North East and returned to the Durham Force in 1987.

Paul rose through the ranks in Durham Constabulary, spending a number of years as a Supervisory Officer, attaining the rank of Inspector.  His final posting was with Professional Standards at Peterlee.

For a number of years, Paul was the Force’s Hostage Negotiator.

A number of commendations were awarded to Paul during his career; one being for rescuing a man who had fallen in the River Wear, in Durham.  Another was awarded for apprehending a violent drunken man in the early hours, at a nightclub in Dorchester.  This man had assaulted staff and Paul, who was on duty, alone at the time was also badly assaulted.

In 2005, Paul retired as a Police Officer to become the Office Manager in Professional Standards; he retired from Police Service altogether in 2015, after 45years service, including his cadet service.

Throughout his life, Paul was a passionate runner and athlete.  He was also a supporter of Newcastle United Football Club, attending many games with his grandfather and later with his two sons.

Paul is survived by wife Janet, son Mark (D/Insp Counter Corruption), daughter Aylsa (Vetting Researcher, Professional Standards), son Peter (Force Headquarters, Real Time Intelligence), Mark’s spouse Elizabeth (DC in Safeguarding) and Aylsa’s spouse Martin (Superintendent, District Commander with Cleveland Police) and much loved grandchildren Isla (14 years), Finlay (13 years), Camila (7 years) and Anna (7 years).

A funeral service is to be held at 12.00 noon Wednesday 27th March 2024 at St. John’s Church, Nevilles Cross, Durham DH1 4DU

Family flowers only, donations in lieu to St. John’s Church, Nevilles Cross, Durham.

After the funeral, friends are invited to join the family at St. John’s Church Centre, Nevilles Cross, Durham

Our thoughts are with Paul’s family and friends at this sad time.

Monday 11 March 2024

The Palatinate, The Peninsular and The Slum: The Science of Police in Victorian Durham

Retired Durham Officer Michael McManus has had a book published :‘The Palatinate, The Peninsular and The Slum: The Science of Police in Victorian Durham’. (Link below.)
All royalties received from sales will go to St. Cuthbert’s Hospice, Durham City.

This book explores historical sociology of policing, particularly during the Victorian period, a time marked by significant changes in the advancements of public administration. These changes aimed to address the challenges posed by the growth of urban populations and residential expansion in the later phases of the Industrial Revolution. As crime and disorder increased, coupled with issues like poor public sanitation affecting the health of citizens in cities like Durham, a strategy which Pasquale Pasquino identifies as the 'science of police' was introduced to tackle the crises. Within this period, a polarised citizenship is observed in Durham City between an affluent element of the community and the less privileged members of the city’s residents. How the administrative changes affected these groups is explored. Two particular social groups are used as a comparative analysis - Irish immigrants to Durham on the one hand and the residents of The Peninsular district of the city on the other. Ultimately, based on his personal experiences as a police officer, the author offers some comparisons between the earlier period of administration and the de-institutionalisation of policing and police in contemporary society.

Death of Police Widow: Audrey Ledger

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the death of Police widow, Audrey Ledger, who died at her Bishop Auckland home on Friday 1st March 2024, aged 91 years.

Audrey is the widow of retired Police Sergeant 551 Daniel (Danny) Whitfield Ledger, who retired from Durham Constabulary in October 1990 and died in January 2009.

Audrey was born in Crook, the only girl of three children. Due to her father’s work, the family moved to Sacriston and attended Durham Girls Grammar School. Sadly, at the age of 14 years, Audrey’s mother passed away, followed by her father six months later.

This resulted in the children being separated and going to live with different families,Audrey moving to Tanfield Lea where she joined the choir of the local Methodist Chapel.

Danny was a choirboy at the same Chapel and on seeing Audrey he told a friend that he was going to marry her.

Danny performed his National Service in the RAF from 1952-54, and in addition to an administrative role, he trained up to Senior Aircraftsman.

In 1955 Danny kept to his word and he and Audrey were married. In 1957 Danny joined Durham County Constabulary, leaving in 1965, when the couple and their two daughters emigrated, to pursue a life in Australia.

Between 1966-68, Danny worked for the Melbourne Harbour Trust, where, after training he became a diver and a licensed motor boatman, he also trained in Fire Fighting and Emergency Operations. Audrey worked as School Secretary at Melbourne’s Methodist Ladies College.

Audrey was somewhat homesick and in 1969 the family moved back to the North East of England, where Danny resumed service with the Durham force and was later promoted to the rank of Sergeant. His police service began at Hebburn, then Chopwell where he rode a police motorcycle, then after the family’s return from Australia, he was posted to

Bishop Auckland, where he was involved with the Divisional firearms officers. He was also an instructor at Harperley Hall for a time and sang in the Durham Constabulary Male Voice Choir for many years; he finally retired in 1990.

Upon their return to England, Audrey took up employment as a Laboratory Assistant at King James Grammar School in Bishop Auckland. However, after learning of her employment status in Melbourne, she was offered the job of School Secretary, a position she held until her retirement in 1992.

She was a very active person and was a committee member of King James Sports Centre, and for many years was on the committee of Bishop Auckland Women’s Institute.

Danny had been a NARPO member and on the committee of the Durham Branch for at least 10 years, with he and Audrey taking an active interest in NARPO. After Danny’s death, Audrey continued her membership and was elected on to the committee in 2010, stepping down in 2024 due to her failing health. For many years she has supported the branch, attending the majority of meetings and social gatherings.

Audrey had a real love for books, poetry and crafts, particularly embroidery and knitting; she had knitted items for Premature Baby Units at the Hospital and ‘Trauma Teddies’ for the Police.

Audrey is survived by daughter Christine and son-in-law David, daughter Gillian, grandchildren Nicola, Alison, Richard and Rachel, and great grandchildren Jake, Emily and Erin.

A funeral service is to be held at 3.30pm Friday 22nd March 2024 at Wear Valley Crematorium, Coundon, Bishop Auckland DL14 8PE.

Family flowers only, donations in lieu to Great North Air Ambulance.

Our thoughts are with Audrey’s family and friends at this sad time.

Next meeting of the Durham Branch of NARPO : This evening - Monday 11th March 2024

A quick reminder that the next meeting of the Durham Branch of NARPO will be held  this evening, 11th March, at the  Masonic Hall, Station Road, Chester-le-Street  DH3 3DU starting at 19.30 hours.

Thursday 7 March 2024

Cadet Reunion - Thursday 5th September 2024

Cadet Reunion  - Thursday 5th September 2024

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Cadet intake of 1974, so a few if us have got together to organise a reunion. 

We are meeting at the Garden House (Cartologist), Durham from 6.30pm onward on Thursday 5th September and would love any ex-cadets, from ANY year, to join us and celebrate. All are welcome from any intake year.

Garden House - the premises have been renamed "The Cartologist" and are being renovated but will be completed by September. The management have asked that we give them some idea of numbers, so could you drop me a line if you are planning to come along. 

Parking - the pub has limited parking but restrictions on the streets, both front and back, end at 6pm. So there's plenty of parking on the night. 

Food - will be available to order from the pub menu on the night.

If you intend to go to the reunion please could you email:     

Please could you provide the intake/ year you joined and which house you were in (Finlay, Bede, Hardwick, Lambton ,Neville. Your details will be forwarded to the organizer's.

The years are rolling by very quickly these days and it will be great to meet up again and reminisce from our time at Aykley Heads (as were no longer 16-19yrs   :-)  ) and catch up on what we've all been doing these past 50+yrs.

Death of Police Widow: Maria Androulla Smith

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the death of Police Widow, Maria Androulla Smith, who died at Bishop Auckland on Thursday 4 January 2024, aged 89 years.

Maria was the widow of the late Inspector 96 Don Smith, who died on 1 July 2016, aged 85 years.

Maria was mother to Dominic, Andreas, James, Fiona, Sean, Kieran, Monica and Lawrence; mother-in-Law to Claire, Earl, Eddie, Jenny and Anthea and grandmother to nine grandchildren.

A funeral service was held at 11.00am Friday 26 January 2024, at St. Mary’s R.C. Church, Vart Road, Bishop Auckland DL14 6PQ, followed by interment at Witton Park Cemetery.

Family flowers only were requested with donations in lieu to The British Heart Foundation.

Our thoughts are with Maria’s family and friends at this sad time.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Death of Retired Police Officer’s Wife: Jeanette Pygall

It is with deep regret that we inform you of the death of a retired Police Officer’s wife, Jeanette Pygall, who died on Monday 26th February 2024, aged 66 years; the loving wife of Retired Detective Superintendent, Denis (Denny) Pygall, having been together since 1973 and marrying in 1976.

Jeanette passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly at home, whilst ‘resting her eyes’ prior to departing to Tenerife the next day, to celebrate her forthcoming birthday on 3rd March.

Jeanette is survived by husband Denis, sons Patrick (serving D/Insp Durham Constabulary), Daniel and Jake; their respective wives Victoria, Jo-Anne and Anna, and seven grandchildren. A much loved wife, mother and grandmother.

A funeral service is to be held at 1.30pm, Wednesday 13th March 2024, at Durham Crematorium, South Road, Durham DH1 3TQ

Family flowers only, donations in lieu to The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA)

After the funeral, friends are invited to join the family at Durham City Rugby Union Football Club, Hollow Drift, Green Lane, Durham DH1 3JU

Our thoughts are with Jeanette’s family and friends at this sad time.

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