A service to commemorate the formation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) which replaced the Royal Irish Constabulary in 1922 was held in Kilbride Parish Church on October 2.
The formation of the RUC, on June 1 1922, followed the partition of Ireland. In the wake of the Patten Report, the police force was reformed and renamed as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) on November 4 2001.
The special service in Kilbride recognised the contribution and sacrifice made by police officers in Northern Ireland over 100 years. This was the main service for the Borough of Antrim and Newtownabbey and the Worshipful the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross, was in attendance, together with other councillors and local MLA, Dr Steve Aiken OBE.
St Bride’s was honoured to host this event, and the service was well attended by many past members of the RUC. The lessons were read by former officers and the praise was led by the PSNI Ladies’ Choir.
The preacher was the Rev Campbell Dixon MBE, a former officer in the RUC and later the PSNI. After serving for 33 years, Campbell retired in 2004. He was ordained in 2007 and has served in St Patrick’s, Jordanstown, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, and St Mark’s, Ballysillan.
In his sermon, he spoke of the strong sense of duty held by officers in the police force and of the great losses and suffering endured throughout its long existence in Northern Ireland with more than 300 members making the supreme sacrifice.
Following the service, tea was enjoyed in the parish hall.