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Plaque tribute to Norwich police force

PUBLISHED: 11:00 23 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:44 01 July 2010

Peter Walsh

A former senior Norfolk detective has told how the unveiling of a plaque in commemoration of the old Norwich City Police force would be a fitting tribute to a former city officer who died last month.

A former senior Norfolk detective has told how the unveiling of a plaque in commemoration of the old Norwich City Police force would be a fitting tribute to a former city officer who died last month.

Hundreds of people last week attended a funeral service for Cecil Mason, 78, known to his friends as Johnny, who did suddenly while on holiday in South Africa on April 11 after he suffered an aneurysm.

Mr Mason, from Thorpe St Andrew, joined the Norwich City Police, as it was then, in 1956 and spent 30 years as a serving policeman before retiring and becoming the force historian and archivist - a role he performed up to his death.

As a historian and archivist Mr Mason spent much of his time fighting for a memorial to the officers who served in the Norwich City Police from its formation in January 1836 until it was disbanded in December 1967 to become part of Norfolk Constabulary.

And on June 13 a plaque is to be unveiled at St Peter Mancroft Church, in recognition of the officers who served the city as part of the city force.

Maurice Morson, former head of Norfolk CID and now a historian and author, said it was a tragedy that Mr Mason would not be there to see it, but the plaque would be his legacy.

He said: “It's a tribute to all the Norwich City Police who served from 1836 until 1967 but it's a reminder and legacy to him in as much as he promoted the idea and pressed so that it should come into being.”

Mr Morson said it was Mr Mason that got the plans drawn up, found an engraver and liaised with the diocese to get the memorial put in St Peter Mancroft.

“The ironic thing is he said we will have it made but won't have it dedicated until June when he came back from holiday and of course he died on holiday.

Mr Morson, who worked with Mr Mason and paid tribute to him at the funeral at Thorpe St Andrew Episcopi Church, Thorpe St Andrew, described him as “the original Dock Green community policeman - very genial and very affable to the public.”

He said: “A lot of people have cause to be grateful to him. He dedicated his life to helping and serving others.”

Mr Mason, who worked at Laurence Scott and Electromotors in the city before joining the Royal Navy, is responsible for the historical police exhibition in the main hall at Norfolk police's headquarters in Wymondham.

The unveiling of the plaque will take place at St Peter Mancroft Church at 11am on Sunday, June 13.

Are you fighting for a memorial in the city? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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