Memorial bench honours former Bestwood Village police officer

A highly-regarded former Bestwood Village police officer was honoured this week by the dedication of a memorial bench in his name.

The seat, which has been placed in the memorial garden of the village’s St Mark’s Churchyard, is in memory of John Mardell.

Known to many as ‘Bobby John’, he lived in Hucknall and died in September 2011 at the age of 77.

A former member of Bestwood St Albans Parish Council, Mr Mardell spearheaded an initiative to raise funds for the memorial garden and obtained support from business people.

At the same time, members of the parish council went round the village with envelopes for donations and people gave freely.

The parish council chairman, Coun Denis Beeston, said: “Bestwood people thought a lot of John Mardell and we felt that the bench would be an excellent way to remember him.”

Mr Mardell’s wife, Jessie, who attended the dedication, said that when the parish council clerk, Mary Hall, phoned to tell her about the idea of the bench, she thought: “What a lovely gesture.”

The seat, which cost about £1,200, has a plaque which describes Mr Mardell as ‘a past parish councillor and fundraiser of the memorial garden’.

In a letter which was once published by the Dispatch, a Bestwood resident said Mr Mardell was an ‘unsung hero of the police force’.

She stated that ‘Bobby John’ had set a wonderful example to the community, such as borrowing a tractor to clear a children’s playing field in the village every spring.

He had organised dances for police charities and attended funerals of people he may not have known, just out of respect.

“He would cycle all the way to Bestwood from Hucknall police headquarters, where he was based, and not much went on that he did not know about,” the resident added.