Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire Councils paid tribute to our emergency services and the NHS this morning (9 September 2021) during flag raising ceremonies to mark Emergency Services Day, which is also known as 999 Day.
Bedford Borough Council was joined by partners from the East of England Ambulance Service, Bedfordshire Fire & Rescue, Bedfordshire Police, Midshires Search & Rescue, the MP for Bedford & Kempston and the High Sheriff.
The event opened with a short welcome from Mayor Dave Hodgson. This was followed by a reading of the Emergency Services Prayer of Thanksgiving (see below) by Garry Forsyth, Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police.
After the reading, the 999 Day flag was raised over Borough Hall and those in attendance participated in a two-minute silence to remember the emergency services personnel killed or injured in the line of duty in the last 200 years.
Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said:
“It was an honour to read the prayer of thanksgiving in admiration of our emergency service workers. This past year has been extremely hard for us all, especially our emergency services.
“Our colleagues in the Ambulance and Fire and Rescue services have continued to work during the pandemic to ensure we are safe and in doing so have put their own safety on the line.
“I would like to thank every person who serves in the emergency services for the sacrifices they made to make our county a safe place to live and work.
“This is also a time to remember all of the emergency staff who have died in the line of duty during the pandemic, as well as those both here and around the world who have lost their lives to coronavirus.
“Policing changed dramatically over the past 18 months, our demand shifted to helping in the fight against the virus and ensure that the people of Bedfordshire were not only safe from crime, but keeping others safe by staying indoors and socially distanced.
“I’m tremendously proud of how the force overcame and adapted to maintain our service of protecting people and fighting crime, together with our partners.”
Representatives from the Fire Services, the Police and the East of England Air Ambulance were also in attendance at Central Bedfordshire Council’s Priory House.
They were joined by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Simon Sadler, the chairman of the council, Cllr Brian Saunders and the chief executive of Central Bedfordshire Council, Marcel Coiffait.
The short ceremony, which also included a reading of the Emergency Services’ prayer (read by Cllr Saunders). This followed a bugler playing renditions of Reveille and the Last Post.
Cllr Saunders said:
“Knowing that we can call on our wonderful emergency services and the NHS in times of crisis is so important to all of us.
“We have a responsibility to do what we can to support this community and to remember their efforts to keep us safe.
“We also need to pay tribute to the many volunteers, without whom, the emergency services could not operate effectively.”
More details about 999 Emergency Day can be found here.
The Emergency Services Prayer of Thanksgiving:
LORD GOD we thank you for the selfless men and women of the emergency services. We thank you for all the resources you provide for their task and especially for the animals trained to work alongside them. We rejoice in all who work for peace and the saving of lives in danger.
We pray for those who serve in the emergency services, that you protect those whose service is our protection. May they ever receive your strength in the performance of their duty. We hold up to you those who have served in past years. We recall those who have paid the ultimate price in their task of preserving life and of upholding law and order. May all who serve or have served within the emergency service be embraced within your love both now and forever.
Grant that our nation may ever continue to show its gratitude towards those who serve within its emergency services and not take for granted the precious work undertaken.
We ask you, Lord, graciously to hear us.