On the 3rd April, the Board of Police Chaplaincy UK surprised Canon David Wilbraham with a small leaving 'do' ahead of his retirement later this month.
David had been meeting with the Chair of Police Chaplaincy UK for a handover meeting all day and thinking the final thing on the agenda for the day was a simple photograph with the two of them to mark the day, members of the Board surprised David. Colleagues had driven from Durham, Warwickshire, South Yorkshire and Oxford to say their goodbyes to the National Chaplain.
David was presented with a certificate from Police Chaplaincy UK; the citation read "With deep appreciation for your visionary guidance, exemplary leadership skills and dedication to Police Chaplaincy." Certificates were also presented from Thames Valley Police where David served as Lead Chaplain and from the National Police Chief's Council to mark his contribution to policing as whole.
For many David is Police Chaplaincy. He has been the National Chaplain full time since 2018 but before that carried out the role alongside the post of Thames Valley Police Lead Chaplain. On the 23rd April he will retire after a lifetime of dedicated service to policing both as an officer, staff member and chaplain. A virtual card and generous collection were also presented to David with over 150 contributions from all members of the policing family.
David was a former Police motorcyclist, and was ordained in 1988 and held parish ministries in the North West of England, was a Prison Chaplain at a Young Offenders Institute and was involved in a large scale Eastern European Aid project in Romania. In 1994 he moved to Surrey Police as their Welfare Manager specialising in the impact of Trauma on Police personnel.
In 2007 he was appointed as full time Force Chaplain with Thames Valley Police. In 2009 he was elected to lead the National Association of Chaplains to the Police [NACP], now Police Chaplaincy UK, as National Police Chaplain.
In July 2018, having secured funding from Police & Crime Commissioners, David relinquished his role as Lead Chaplain at Thames Valley Police to concentrate on the role of National Police Chaplain providing a resource for Police Forces, individual Force Chaplaincies and all related organisations.
David is the Coordinator of National Police Memorial Day held each September and responsible for the organisation of this important annual event of national significance. David is also Chair of the Police Roll of Honour Trust and is engaged with Police Charities UK; The Advisory Board of the Police Firearms Officers Association; and is a trustee of Crossways Counselling Service. He was awarded the MBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List for ‘services to Policing'.
David's impact on policing and chaplaincy cannot be underestimated and he will be greatly missed.
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