Cyclists are taking part in a 180-mile charity ride in honour of police officers who have died in the line of duty.
Officers from Nottinghamshire Police were among 26 riders who donned their helmets and cycling shorts for the weekend event.
This is the tenth anniversary of the UK Police Unity Tour – which raises money for charity, the Care of Police Survivors (COPS).
The bike ride began at Nottinghamshire Police’s joint headquarters in Sherwood Lodge this morning (August 19). The force was also joined by officers from Leicestershire and Derbyshire.
Nottinghamshire officers described why they had signed up for the important event which honours those who have lost their lives protecting the public.
This includes police constable Ged Walker. The Nottinghamshire Police dog handler was killed on duty doing the job he loved whilst trying to stop a stolen car in Bulwell in January 2003.
Sergeant Gav Berry, who works in the force control room, said: “The majority of my service was a dog handler and with the connection to Ged Walker, I knew the family and that is why I am doing it.
“I think it is a worthwhile event and I do it to raise awareness. It is really important that with the new intake of officers, we don’t forget the fallen officers in our own force.”
Response officer PC Feron Thomas said: “My dad died in November 2021, and I really wanted a goal to keep myself going and saw this bike ride.
“I wanted to raise money to support families who have lost their loved ones. I am a police officer, and I can relate because I could be any one of these people.”
Detective Constable Melissa Evans from Nottinghamshire Police said she felt “emotional and honoured” to be part of the ride.
“I will always support my policing family. We will be supporting the families of those who have lost their loved ones in the line of duty.”
Victoria Moore, aged 30, of Leicester, lost her dad PC Bryan Moore in the line of duty when he served at Leicestershire Police.
PC Moore and PC Munn were killed when a van being pursued by police rammed their stationary car in August 2002.
She joined the bike ride with officers from Leicestershire Police.
“This is my sixth year, and it is a great event and a great way for officers to realise how close the police family is. They can remember the fallen colleagues and it is a time for reflection. The COPS charity is invaluable to us.
“Meeting the colleagues that worked with him and hearing their stories keeps his memory alive. I did not know how dangerous it is to be a police officer until that day and then I realised how heroic the job is.
“The milestone of 20 years since he died is hard because I think of all the things in 20 years he has missed out on. I was 10-years-old.
“It is nice to see the three forces together today.”
Today, there was a remembrance service at the force’s memorial garden and the laying of wreaths.
Cyclists then set off on the 180-mile ride at 7.30am and will travel through Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
They will then travel through Bedfordshire and Warwickshire on Saturday.
Riders from across the UK will then meet at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire to take part in the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) annual service of remembrance, and family weekend.
DS Sarah Stables, East Midlands chapter president of the COPS ride, said: “Last year I had to be held up after 180 miles and seeing all the families clapping us on. I joined the force the same year as Ged died. I have wanted to be in the police since finishing school and wanted to make a difference.
“I also want to make sure these officers are never forgotten within the police for the service they have given and their ultimate sacrifice to the force.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Caroline Henry, said: “I think of the police force as a family, and when we lose one of our loved ones it’s essential we support each other which is why this charity bike ride is an opportunity to highlight the amazing work of the charity COPS.
“I would encourage any donations to continue their work supporting families of police survivors.”
Posted on Friday 19th August 2022