Police Pay Respects to Man Who Tended Braybrook Street Memorial
Reg tended stone honouring three officers shot dead in 1966 for 27 years
Local police officers have paid tribute to Reg Collins, who tended the memorial to fallen comrades in Braybrook Street, Shepherd's Bush for 27 years.
Reg, who lived opposite the memorial at 63 Braybrook Street for 48 years before his death, on his 81st birthday on Monday August 17.
This year marks the 49th anniversary of the murders of three unarmed police officers, Detective Sergeant Christopher Head, Detective Constable David Wombwell and Constable Geoffrey Fox, who were shot dead on 12 August 1966 in Braybrook Street.
The officers, who were routinely patrolling in a car, were murdered after approaching the occupants of a vehicle that was parked suspiciously close to Wormwood Scrubs Prison.
In 1988 a stone was unveiled to honour the three officers in Braybrook Street where the three officers were slain.
Every year, on the anniversary of the murders, Reg would stand by his front gate and quietly pay his respects to the three officers who lost their lives.
Reg was not related to the officers and had no connections with the police; he was known as 'the man with white hair who was stood quietly at the gate'.
What Reg did do however, was look after the memorial stone. He wasn't asked to do this by anyone, but he took it upon himself to tidy it up when the weeds were sprouting and ensure it looked pristine at all times.
Reg's daughter, Evelyn Hazel, said: "Dad would sit in his chair by the window which overlooked the memorial stone and keep an eye on it. He would clean it up when it got dirty and remove the dead flowers and wreathes that had withered away.
This year, Evelyn contacted officers from Hammersmith and Fulham to say that her dad had missed this year's service as he was in hospital and say there would no longer be anyone to tend to the stone.
Reg's funeral was held on Monday, 7 September and officers from Hammersmith and Fulham police visited Braybrook Street to pay their respects to him.
Commander Lucy D'Orsi, the former Borough commander of Hammersmith and Fulham, said: "I first met Reg during a memorial service for our fallen colleagues a few years ago. Reg attended this service every year for 27 years quietly paying his respects to those officers who died whilst tackling criminals - he never forgot them.
" I will always be grateful to Reg for keeping the memorial stone looking its best over the years, even, on occasion challenging those few people who perhaps did not understand what the memorial stood for.
"Reg personified the quiet and consistent support the wider public give to police officers as they go about their difficult and sometimes dangerous duties. My thoughts are with Reg's family and friends at this sad time."
September 14, 2015