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Commemorative plaque marks 50 years of dedicated service

Charity Patron, Chief Constable Craig Guildford helped mark our 50th anniversary earlier today as he unveiled a special plaque in Lloyd House reception.

The Chief joined police widow Patricia Bayliss and her daughter Lesley for the unveiling near the Force Roll of


Chief Constable Craig Guildford, Patricia Bayliss and daughter Lesley, John Williams, Chair of the Benevolent Fund and PCC Simon Foster.

The timing marked exactly 50 years since the very first official committee meeting of the West Midlands Police Benevolent Fund was held at Police HQ, Lloyd House at 11 am on Monday 13 May 1974.

It was attended by the Fund’s Chairman, Chief Constable Sir Derrick Capper Q.P.M and representatives from the Superintendent’s Association, Police Federation, NARPO and police welfare officers.

Patricia was one of the widows who received direct support from the Fund following the tragic death of her late husband PC Hewitt in 1976.

On 25 July 1976 PC Hewitt was on his way to start his 6pm – 2am shift as a police constable.

He was travelling along the Widney Lane on his motorbike and proceeded through the set of green lights at the Marshall Lake Road junction, when suddenly, an oncoming vehicle drove over the lights and struck Michael, knocking him off his motorbike into a nearby lamp post.

He sadly died of his injuries six days later.

Two Welfare Officers, involved with the Benevolent Fund at the time met with Lesley and offered incredible support, not just emotional and empathic support but practical help and financial assistance too.

As if this time was not difficult enough, shortly afterwards, Lesley and Patricia were involved in a serious RTA.

Lesley spent six months in hospital undergoing surgery and Patricia’s injuries caused a sudden episode of temporary amnesia.

Patricia had no recollection of her husband’s accident and his subsequent death, so she had to relive the painful grieving process all over again.

The weekly visits continued by the Ben Fund officers, checking on the family and making sure they had everything they needed.

Patricia and Lesley are extremely grateful for the help and support they received.

“I cannot begin to put into words the help and support we received from the Benevolent Fund when my father was killed,” explained Lesley.

Patricia added; “When you lose a loved one who is a police officer, you go through two kinds of grief. Grieving your loved one first and then grieving the loss of the police family that you are no longer part of.

“Having the Benevolent fund there throughout saved my life really. I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t join – for just £2 a month you have so much protection but even if it’s not you that ever needs the help, there are so many more people that you will be helping.

“We are delighted and honoured to have been asked here today to unveil the plaque in Michael’s honour. It is very very special to see his name up there.”

Chief Constable Craig Guildford said: “I was delighted to be asked to unveil this plaque today with Patricia and Lesley.

“As patron of the Benevolent Fund, I know the amazing work it has done over the past 50 years and continues to do today.

“The charity is as relevant and important as it ever has been.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said; “It was a real honour to have the opportunity to mark 50 years of the West Midlands Police Benevolent Fund, a charity which I know has – and continues to be – a real lifeline for families across the West Midlands, when they are most in need.

“It was an absolute pleasure to meet with Patricia and Lesley earlier, to hear how they have been supported since the passing of PC Michael Hewitt, an officer who was sadly taken from us after a tragic road collision.”

“I would encourage support for the Benevolent Fund, so that it can continue to provide an essential safety net to people, when they are most in need.”

Although a slightly different Benevolent Fund existed back then, Patricia and Lesley’s personal experience resonates with so many people the Fund has helped right up to the present day.

Today if an officer dies in service the Benevolent Fund makes a one-off payment of £3500 and will then pay any surviving children £25 a week until they reach their 18th birthday. Around £20,000 in financial support is given to widows and orphans from the Benevolent Fund each year.

At the Benevolent Fund’s Open Annual General Meeting, held on Tuesday 13 May 1975, the Committee Members reflected on the first year of the West Midlands Police Benevolent Fund and concluded it had been a reasonably successful one. After a quiet start, the volume of work had grown, as members had become more and more aware of the benefits available to them.

It was proving a real success in supporting it members and the wider police family and 50 years on the Benevolent Fund is still doing exactly that!

The Fund now offers a wide range of membership benefits to help serving and retire police officers and staff.


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Charity Number: 1186628

Company Number: 03179216

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