29th May RUC George Cross Anniversary Service
On Sunday 29th May, 2022 Belfast Cathedral was the venue for the 20th Anniversary Service of Thanksgiving of the RUC George Cross Association, marking the centenary of the founding of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1922. Much of the organisation was handled by Professor Stephen White, and Ms Sandra Best.
The service was led by the Dean, with the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Reverend John McDowell as preacher. The uplifting worship was led by cathedral choir, joined by the RUC Male Voice Choir and the PSNI Ladies Choir.
Present was Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant for Belfast, Fionnuala Joy O'Boyle, and Prince Charles sent a message of congratulations which was included in the printed Order of Service.
The Prayers were led by the Church Leaders or their representatives. Also present in the large congregation of former and serving police officers, was the PSNI Chief Constable, Simon Byrne and the Garda Commission Drew Harris. The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Michael Long, was accompanied by his wife, Justice Minister, Naomi Long. A number of other political leaders were also present.
In his introduction, the Dean addressed the congregation as follows:
"Today we join in the twentieth annual RUC George Cross Service, which marks the award of the George Cross for Gallantry to RUC, as is written in the citation “to recognise the collective courage and dedication to duty of all those who have served in the Royal Ulster Constabulary and who have accepted the danger and stress this has brought to them and their families”. For those of us who lived through the years of the Northern Ireland Troubles, and those of you who served during those years, our debt of gratitude remains as each day you continue carry the cost and for so many the grief, that those years brought.
As Prince Charles in his foreword to this afternoon’s service reminds us, today we mark a further date of deep significance. It was on 1st June, 1922, one hundred years ago this Wednesday, when the Royal Ulster Constabulary came into being in the newly created state of Northern Ireland. Many of those who made up the new police force had come through the trials of partition. And indeed many had previously served across this entire island as members of the RIC. South of the border, on the 22nd February of that same year, the Garda Síochána had also been established.
Today in our centenary Service of Thanksgiving, we acknowledge one hundred years of policing across this island, and through the years of the RUC and more recently the PSNI, we give thanks for policing in every community throughout this Province."
The Archbishop of Armagh's Address can be read below.
Further photos from the Service by taken Patrick Lynch: