Trailblazing officer was ‘caring’ woman

TRIBUTES were last night paid to a former police officer who became her constabulary’s first and only woman sergeant.

Brenda Mann, who joined the police in 1951 and worked in Lowestoft, Felixstowe and Bury St Edmunds, died after a 12-year battle with cancer at her home in Fornham House, Bury, last Thursday.

She was 92 years old.

Awarded an MBE for services to police welfare in 1993, Miss Mann was last night described as a “true Girl Friday” by a former colleague.

Retired Superintendant Jim Burroughs, a close friend who worked with Miss Mann, said: “She’s always been a very caring woman who was always interested in welfare.

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“I always said she was a true Girl Friday and even with her cancer she was never down. She fought it very, very hard. She was a brave lady. You don’t meet many people like that.”

Inspired to join the police by her brother, Miss Mann, originally from London, first served as a police officer in Lowestoft where she worked for eight years before transfering to Felixstowe.

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In 1961, she took a promotion and moved from the old East Suffolk Constabulary to the former West Suffolk Constabulary.

In moving across the county, she became the West Suffolk force’s first and only woman police sergeant.

The west and east Suffolk forces, together with Ipswich Borough Constabulary, merged into Suffolk police in 1964.

Once the different forces merged, Miss Mann ceased to be the only female police sergeant.

Supt Burroughs told how Miss Mann’s work with the police was centred on working with juveniles and police cadets.

He told how she always put others first, whether by preparing lunch for 60 pensioners or by arranging functions for children.

Her welfare work included being on the management committee of the police convalescent home, working for the Suffolk Police Benevolent Fund and working for the National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO), for whom she served in a number of roles including secretary, treasurer and vice chairman.

She was nominated for the MBE by colleagues at Suffolk police.

Miss Mann, who never married or had children, was also a keen fundraiser and supporter of St Nicholas Hospice Care in Bury.

A thanksgiving service will be held at the Southgate Church in Bury on August 20 at 2pm followed by commital at West Suffolk Crematorium.

Donations, if desired, to St Nicholas Hospice can be sent c/o L Fulcher Funeral Services in Whiting Street, Bury.

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