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Bangor police officer honoured at Buckingham Palace

ONLY months after being invited to No 10 Downing Street and an MP’s reception at the House of Commons, a North Wales police officer is off to London again … this time to a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

Holyhead community beat officer Lisa Thomas served in Bangor for 20 years before being moved to the Anglesey town where she made immediate impact with her friendly and effective style of town-centre policing and came to the notice of local MP Virginia Crosbie.

Mrs Crosbie invited her to London to receive the Home Secretary’s community policing commendation at No. 10 and then drinks at the Houses of Parliament. But the invitation to Buckingham Palace comes from Bangor City Councillor Mark Roberts who will represent the City at the prestigious event.

He said, “After her 20 years of such professional service to Bangor, even respected by the local criminal fraternity for her sense of fair-play, I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving to take up this honour as an invited partner.

“When North Wales Police decided to move her to Holyhead there was a large petition to the then chief constable from Bangor leaders and business owners to overturn the move; but sadly that effort failed.

“I couldn’t think of a person better deserving of some ‘Bangor’ recognition to accept the invitation than Lisa Thomas” he said.

Earlier this year after her Downing Street invitation, North Wales Police chief constable Amanda Blakeman asked to join PC Thomas on one of her beat patrols around Holyhead’s South Stack and meet with the Heddlu Bach Team (Junior Police unit) Lisa co-ordinates as part of her community work.

“It was lovely for the Chief to take time to accompany me on patrol and then to meet the young Heddlu Bach team. They were absolutely thrilled to meet her.”

Her day in London will begin with a visit to the Welsh Guards RHQ opposite Buckingham Palace for a private behind-the-scenes view of Guards preparations for their Changing of the Guard and mounting, then private tour of the Royal Warrant Holding jeweller Wartski of St James’s fabulous collection of Russian Faberge and stunning diamonds, the Garden Party and then invited guest to the ancient and ‘invited guests only’ Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London.

Anglesey MP Virginia Crosbie said yesterday “I’m delighted for her. I cannot speak for her work in Bangor but she’s certainly had some fantastic and positive impact on community policing in Holyhead. It’s marvellous to hear that her full career and lovely personality is being recognised and I share Cllr Roberts opinion that it’s so well deserved”.

And for Cllr Roberts of Glanrafon, Bangor, the Royal Garden Party could be unique too. “If by some thousand to one chance I might rub shoulders with Prince William that would make it four generations of Sovereigns or heirs I’ll have shaken hands with. I met the Queen Mother in 1972, the late Queen twice and the King – when he was Prince of Wales – three times; twice to shake hands with. Prince Philip had a particularly firm handshake; he seemed to relish in squeezing tightly while waiting for the recipient to squirm and smile at the same time!

“Police officers of course are famed for scoffing doughnuts so I am not sure how Lisa might react to the beautifully created Buckingham Palace’s icing-decorated cake which comes with dainty cucumber sandwiches! But tea-spoons so frequently nicked at these events as souvenirs ought to be safe. She’s a copper after all!” quipped Cllr. Roberts.