History of the Evergreens
Initially called, at its inception, ‘The Ex-RUC Women Police Association’ the organisation was formed, at the instigation of the late Chief Inspector Irene Whan and others, on 1st September 1980. For a variety of reasons, the less-unwieldy name ‘Evergreens’ was suggested.
Prior to the onset of ‘The Troubles,’ Policewomen were required to leave the service upon marriage, effectively jettisoning a significant degree of experience. The formation of the Evergreens sought to, and succeeded in, bringing together former members in a spirit of fellowship and socialisation. Membership continues on a Province-wide scale, with area representatives and an overarching committee of Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer. The Committee is elected every three years. Regional representatives and the committee meet regularly throughout the year.
Evergreens’ outings, until recent times, comprised theatre visits, lunches, coffee parties and day trips, with local areas also arranging individual events. The regions gather for a Spring Dinner each year, in addition to an Annual General Meeting/Annual Dinner in the Autumn.
Overall, the Evergreens encompass a vital support network, especially where members are ill, hospitalised, or where there may be welfare concerns, all handled discreetly and with compassion. Such a network, described recently by a senior member as ‘enduring friendship especially through the very difficult years of the Troubles,’ have once again assumed particular relevance during the pandemic. The Evergreens support network continues via socially-distanced visits where possible, telephone calls, emails and letters. At such a difficult and unprecedented time, where there is illness and, sadly, family bereavement, this constant level of support is more important than ever.
Covid put paid to a hoped-for 40-year reunion in September 2020, which was to have included reminiscences from members in the form of poetry, prose and the sharing of photographs and other mementoes. There is also a large representation of musical/choral talent amongst our membership, which continues to be representative throughout the Province.
It is anticipated that this reunion will take place once Covid restrictions can be safely eased.
© Patricia Fawcett 2021