Received from Chris Rhodes in response to a previous item: “Has anybody seen the Addlestone Community Neighbourhoods Team?”
From Runnymede Residents Community Web Site:
On Friday 18th November 2011 the Runnymede Community Safety team managed a full partnership visit to the Great War battlefield of Vimy Ridge in the Arras region of northern France.
The visit was a great if sobering experience reminding everyone of the sacrifice of so many families around the world. This area was fought over for some four years taking the lives of French, Moroccan, British, Canadian, Indian, Ghurkha and German soldiers. At Vimy Ridge the battalion runners were the only troops allowed to sleep safely in the tunnels underground. They were all volunteers. However a â€˜runnersâ€™ average life expectancy was just five days! It is important to remember that this was a clash of empires and the graves of both sides include Jewish and Moslem ones side by side with Christian and â€˜unknownâ€™ soldiersâ€™ mass graves. At sunset on behalf of the Runnymede Community Safety Partnership Inspector Roger Nield laid a wreath at an allied war graves cemetery. This was just one of many awe inspiring and very moving moments.
The dayâ€™s events were also designed to build stronger links between partners and all day joint teams competed through tasks that brought ensured strong interactions with local French folk, Canadian citizens and unexpectedly tourists from Surrey! The winning team (Helen Johnson SCC, YPCSO Simon Mount and Roger Nield) carried off the trophy shield after a hard fought competition.
All who attended brought enthusiasm and commitment to building better partnership and this was financed entirely by the participants. Feedback from the partners has been universally positive and there are plans afoot already to build on the working relationships cemented by this event.
The visit was supported by staff the Boxing Inclusion Zone, The Runnymede Neighbourhood Policing Team, Surrey County Council and Safer Runnymede.
A query was made with Chris about the reference to the event being “…financed entirely by the participants”, with reference to the duty status of the police officers involved: Chris responded as follows: “The officers who attended were on a scheduled duty/training day but all paid towards the costs of fuel, Channel Tunnel crossing etc.Â Partner agencies who attended included staff from Runnymede Borough Council and representatives from the Borough’s schools who we work with closely.”