Memorial service marks 40th anniversary of Blackpool sea tragedy

Friday, January 6, 2023

A memorial service was held to mark the 40th anniversary of three Blackpool police officers, who lost their lives during a tragic attempted sea rescue on 5th January 1983.

PCs Gordon Connolly, Colin Morrison and Angela Bradley drowned whilst trying to save a tourist who had gone into the sea to rescue his dog.

The three officers had entered the water close to Gynn Square but were overcome by the strong tide, waves and freezing cold water. The 25-year-old tourist Alistair Anthony who was on a trip to the resort from Glasgow, also tragically perished.

A fourth officer, PC Pat Abram, was rescued by colleagues who were able to throw a rope around his neck, before he was given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on the prom.

A memorial service was held at Gynn Square on Thursday 5th January, where a new plaque was unveiled. Families of the victims were joined by members of the Constabulary and the other emergency services, as well as members of the public.

Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary Chris Rowley said: “Three police officers arrived at work for duty on that day in January 1983, but never returned home to their loved ones.

“Those three brave officers died trying to save a member of the public, which is the epitome of public service, and we feel a great sense of honour and pride in being able to remember them and mark their sacrifice with a special memorial service. 

“We also remember the member of the public, who tragically died during the incident, Alistair Anthony.

“As one of the darkest days in the history of Lancashire Constabulary, we continue to and will always remember those who lost their lives that day. PC Colin Morrison, PC Gordon Connolly and PC Angela Bradley and all involved are etched in the history of the Constabulary. 

“Their names, photographs and awards named after them are prevalent within our force and act as a reminder of the selfless and brave actions displayed by all on this tragic day.

“May all those involved Rest in Peace and always be remembered”.


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