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The widow of hero PC Bill Barker has made an emotional address at the opening of Northside Bridge in Workington which was swept away in the floods of 2009 claiming the life of her husband. At \St. Michael's Church today Hazel Barker said:
"On the morning of Friday 20th November 2009, Mother Nature vented her anger on the close communities of Cumbria, tearing apart every ‘thing’ and every ‘one’ in her path. Destroying homes, obliterating businesses and totally devastating many, many people’s live’s; Trying her utmost to completely eradicate all the beauty that ‘is’ the exquisite County of Cumbria. Even The River Derwent became her ally and obeyed her outrageous commands therefore betraying the very people who had for many years considered her their friend. In her final act of defiance, Mother Nature, not content with all that she had so far achieved, then went on to take the ultimate … that being, the life of, PC642 Bill Barker who had stepped forward into the night…
"His only thought was to preserve the lives of those he served … an AMAZING husband, an incredibly devoted Dad, a dedicated Police Officer and a loyal public servant.
"Today, less than three years later, after throwing down her gauntlet, Mother Nature will be under no illusion as to the strength and determination of the close communities here in Cumbria. In true Cumbrian style, the people accepted her challenge, calling in the AMAZING reserves from across the UK and today … the final piece of the almost insurmountable jigsaw is very firmly put in place.
"All this is, in no small part and thanks to the vision, skill, blood, sweat, tears and, we are sure, many sleepless nights of so many people here today, without whom none of this would have been possible. If we were able to say a HUGE personal thankyou to every single person individually …we would, as this is impossible, we would ask that all representatives of Balfour Beatty Birse Construction Team, Capita Symonds Design Team, Cumbria County Council Project Team and everyone involved in this truelly INCREDIBLE accomplishment… please, let everyone know how much this means to us. We MUST however, make a very special mention to three wonderful people here today, to Lynn Singleton,
"The Area Engagement Officer, Jason Dixey, Project Manager and Malcolm Johnson The Public Realm Designer. Please accept our most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your very genuine compassion, your utmost professionalism but most of all your sensitivity and love shown
to us over the passed months! Thankyou is NEVER enough in these circumstances….
"Our personal jigsaw goes on BUT today, once again, Cumbria is indeed united and the bridge symbolic that, as ever, Cumbria is, without doubt, in Union.