A week of heroes
Yesterday, I attended the funeral service of PC Keith Palmer to represent all the people of Bermondsey and Old Southwark. PC Palmer was murdered whilst doing his job protecting Westminster. His family lost a husband, dad, son and brother but our country lost a hero. It was an honour to be able to pay our community’s respects at the national tribute. It was a moment of pride that Southwark played such a significant role that tribute: the service was at Southwark Cathedral; the funeral directors were Albins and many other local organisations were represented, especially local police officers.
Today, I attended the service of commemoration on the centenary anniversary of Harold Sanford Mugford’s action in the Great War which led to him being awarded a Victoria Cross. He was born in Bermondsey and the commemorative paving stone was unveiled this morning next to our war memorial on West Lane. He was awarded the VC for his acts of valour in the Battle of Arras in 1917 which included declining medical treatment for himself to maintain an attack that prevented many others losing their lives. He was very severely wounded but continued to fight. His is the third commemorative VC paving stone in our community. There are others I have seen unveiled on Long Lane by Bermondsey Square and on Chapter Road by Pasley Park. It is important that the acts of bravery from Bermondsey’s heroes continue to be acknowledged and respected in this way.
It was a pleasure to see Johnson Beharry again this morning. He was also at the unveiling of the other commemorative VC paving stones and is a recipient of the VC himself for his acts of valour and great heroism in May 2004 in Iraq. He is a living hero.
This week has highlighted to me the tremendous risks that our police and armed forces take every day to ensure our rights, values and freedoms are upheld.