WPC Deborah Jane (Debs) Bell
Posted on 5th October 2022 at 10:55
Debs Bell passed away on 5th September 2022 after an illness.
Her funeral took place on Friday 30 September and was attended by her family and many friends from the police service.
Debs was given a special escort prompting former Sergeant Eugenie Brooks to say:
"Please give a special mention to MPS Traffic Division who had 6 marked motorcycles and one marked traffic car for the funeral - they came from two different garages and worked together seamlessly. They conducted a recce of the route from the undertakers to Johnny’s house and then onward to the crematorium. They were so respectful and professional and made me so very proud to be a retired TRAFPOL and member of the MPS. When they all bowed their heads on their bikes when they pulled into the crematorium - it was so very special. And my promise to Debs when I visited her at the hospice was made good - at the head of the arrowhead was a female job rider… Couldn’t get better than that.”
The eulogy at the funeral was given by Eugenie Brooks, a former colleague of Debs and her reporting Sergeant at Heathrow.
PC ‘DEBS’ BELL
GREEN INTAKE HENDON TRAINING SCHOOL
14TH MARCH 1994
Debs – not Debbie or Deborah as she hated that! – joined the Met Police when she was 32 years old and after initial training was posted to Brixton.
After successfully completely her probation she applied to join SO18 and transferred to Heathrow Airport.
That is where I met her as I was her Sergeant. I remember her smile and laughter and her ability to be cheerful at all times of the day and night. On an early turn with a 6am start I was a bit of a grumpy git, and it was known that if anyone wanted to ask me a question – especially if I was custody Sgt looking after a cell full of smelly prisoners, it was prudent to approach me with a cup of coffee and certainly not before 8am! Debs knew this but with her smile and caring approach – a cup of coffee AND a cake – she always made me smile at whatever time she came to see me…
She was on the Traffic unit there and was a very highly qualified officer in all things traffic – Traffic officers out ‘in the real world’ as in not at Heathrow are called Black Rats whereas the ones at Heathrow were nicknamed ‘grey gerbils’… I had been in Traffic Department for 10 years before promotion and Debs and I had numerous chats about ‘real traffic’ and she so wanted to join them but was worried about the Police Standard motorcycle course as the motorbikes used by the police are big old things and as we all know, Debs was as I called her, vertically challenged! However, she had a drive and determination that never diminished in all the time I knew her. She decided to apply and got into the real traffic department, and she passed her motorcycle course with flying colours. She admitted to me it was hard work, but she was a tenacious girl and I had every confidence she would pass.
Our paths went separate ways as things go in the Police, but I knew she worked at both the traffic garages I had been posted to. After an injury she received at work she went to work in the Traffic Duties office in London and carried on with her positive mindset even though she was sad she couldn’t be at a working garage anymore. Via the wonders of social media, we got back in touch, and I attended the funeral of her beloved husband David, Johnny’s Dad.
When she went into the hospice, I visited her several times and although at times she was very short of breath and on oxygen we did have a lot of laughs. We reminisced about our days at Heathrow, people we both knew in the Job and our love of cats. She was so thankful to have Johnny and Rosie in her life and she was the happiest I had ever seen her. She never stopped talking about her grandchildren and I know it sounds a bit strange, but I honestly do believe she had found peace and happiness in this world and although she knew her time was limited she relished every moment with her family. I know she was so excited knowing she was going to leave the hospice and live with her beloved son and family.
I had posted on various social media sites about the loss of Debs, and I must admit I was deluged with dozens of replies. The overwhelming theme of all those many messages was their memories of her laughter, her smile, and the fun they had working with her. One lad, Henry who now lives in the USA said of Debs:
“I’d just like to say what a wonderful lady Debs was. I chatted with her on messenger a couple of weeks ago before she left us. She was very aware of her illness and faced it with great dignity and bravery. I am very sad that we have lost her. I had been on Central Aid with her many times, and she was always full of good humour and she had a lovely smile. Whenever I popped into Empress State Building, I would always stop by and say hello and have a chat.
Another lad, Steve with whom I worked with at Heathrow told me this story:
“I remember being posted with Debs at Heathrow on the traffic car.....Hunter Airside if I remember correctly. I'd not been there long, and she was showing me the art of airside driving when she almost drove onto a grass area. She said 'Oh Bugger' or something like that and she then went on to explain how HAL move the grass areas at night with special machinery so as to fool the birds. Being new, young, gullible and in awe of being airside I said 'Really? That's amazing'. She couldn't stop laughing. Almost 20 years on when I went to see her in the hospice she mentioned it again and laughed again.....the first and last times I'd seen her laugh and experience her wonderfully dry sense of humour xx STEVE”
Debs.. you were loved and respected by so many people – friends, colleagues, and your precious family with whom you were so happy to be with at the end.
I like to think, in fact I KNOW, that Debs is now at peace but I for one will never forget that infectious smile and that determined little lady that I had the honour to work with.
Sleep well Debs.
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