Vigils to be held for Westminster Bridge attack anniversary

A service is to be held on Thursday at Westminster Hall to mark the one year anniversary of the Westminster Bridge attack that killed five people and injured 50.

There will also be a minute’s silence in the House of Commons in memory of those who perished when Khalid Masood drove a 4×4 into a crowd before the attacker was shot and killed outside parliament.

Among those murdered was Keith Palmer, an unarmed constable who “did his job and never wanted any fuss,” according to his friend and former colleague PC Shaun Cartwright.

In a statement released through Scotland Yard Cartwright said: “Keith loved being a police officer, he just wanted to help people and do his best.

“Keith was always happy, always the first to help anyone out, first in to work and the last one out.

“He was a proud and courageous police officer who did his job and never wanted any fuss or to be the centre of attention.

“Keith was a true and loyal friend, utterly reliable.

“Most of all I will remember him as a family man who idolised his wife, daughter and his family; they’re the important ones that I think about a year on from the Westminster attack.”

Speaking to ITV News, MP Tobias Ellwood, who received medical training in the services, recalled his memories of the tragic day, including his efforts to save Pc Palmer.

“I saw PC Keith Palmer on the ground and he was bleeding profusely,” Ellwood said. “Some officers were trying to help him. Being medically trained I thought I could offer some help.”

“I arrived and there was a pulse and there was profuse bleeding and the medics came and I thought I’d be pushed to the side but they asked me to keep doing what I was doing,” the MP added.

After the helicopter landed Ellwood said he thought the victim would be taken away but the casualty needed stabilising so he was again asked to carry on assisting.

“And it was very sad to be told that it wouldn’t be possible to save his life and that too much blood had been lost.”

Senior officers are expected to attend a number of private memorial services on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of the atrocity, but the force has not made details public.

PC Palmer’s name will be one of 1,400 inscribed on the new UK Police Memorial being built in Staffordshire, commemorating officers who were killed on duty.

Another 4,000 of those who died on duty will be remembered inside the memorial.

Supporters have been asked to donate £5 towards the scheme, for which £3.1 million has been raised of a total £4 million cost.

It includes an education programme to teach children about policing and support scheme for bereaved families.

Sir Hugh Orde, chair of trustees of the UK Police Memorial, said: “This has been an unprecedented year for policing with officers and staff repeatedly putting themselves in danger to keep the public safe and protecting them from harm.

“Sadly, in March last year we saw one of my policing colleagues Pc Keith Palmer lose his life during a terrorist attack in London whilst protecting our freedoms and safeguarding our democracy,” he said.

“Keith’s death put greater emphasis on the need to create a memorial where the nation can go to commemorate our police service,” Orde added.

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