Residents in Knighton have planted a tree in memory of a police officer who was killed in the line of duty 45 years ago.
Sergeant Brian Dawson or ‘Geordie’ as he was known, died after being shot while attending an incident in Lambourne Road where a gunman had barricaded himself inside a house.
Alongside Geordie, ambulance driver Terry Wilkinson and neighbour Enid Cabaniuk were also shot and killed. Another two officers were also injured.
Yesterday (3 December), a tree was planted on Dawson Way – just a stone’s throw from where the incident took place on 1 September 1975.
It is not only to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice Geordie made while coming to the aid of the community but to recognise and show appreciation to serving officers who continue to put their lives at risk every day.
Due to Covid restrictions only six people were able to attend the outdoor ceremony but among those paying their respects were Geordie’s son Kevin and Enid’s son Stefan - who were both 18 when their parents were killed. Stefan now works for Leicester City Council’s parks department and his colleagues were involved in the organisation of planting the tree.
Also in attendance was local officer PC Duncan Tebbatt and local residents Julie Simons, who organised the planting, and Mary Abrahams.
Alongside the tree, a plaque honouring Geordie’s memory was fitted to a large stone nearby with the words ‘I will walk with you’ – the first line of a Welsh poem read out by Julie during the ceremony.
Julie Simons said: “It was very poignant to have two people with us who were personally affected by the tragic incident. Both Kevin and Stephan were just teenagers when they both lost a parent due to the events that occurred on that day.
“We want the tree to act as a reminder of the sacrifice Sgt Dawson made on that day more than 45 years ago but we also want serving officers to know the community appreciate everything they do for us.
“If an officer working in our community wants to come to the spot and take five minutes to reflect on the job they are doing we hope this dedication allows them the place to do this.
“We were sure to choose a tree that would stand out among the many already planted nearby. The one we picked, a Crimson King Maple, will be the only dark red leaved tree in the park so will be easy to identify.
Kevin Dawson said: “It means a lot to have a memorial stone and tree to remember not only my dad but the other people and their families who were involved in the terrible incident. Thank you to Julie and others in the community for organising such a thoughtful memorial.”
Stefan Cabaniuk added: “On behalf of myself, on my brother Andriy and my late father Marko, I would also like to thank Julie and Mary for arranging the ceremony and inviting me along to this poignant occasion.
“This tragic incident really brings home the very real dangers the police, and others in the emergency services, face in going about doing their daily duties on our behalf. As well as the ongoing sense of loss and pain experienced by all involved.”