New chapter for Northamptonshire’s Police Unity Tour team
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Members of the Northamptonshire policing family were back in the saddle at the weekend (August 19-21) to remember fallen colleagues who have lost their lives in the line of the duty.
Nine serving and retired officers and police staff from the Force joined colleagues from across the UK to take part in this year’s Police Unity Tour to raise money for Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity.
Representing the Force were Sergeant Simon Randall, PC Lucy Sculthorpe, PC Ian Rudkin and PC Imogen Robinson; PSCOs Chris Asante-Ampaduh and Steve Coles, Louise Sheridan from the OPFCC and retired officers Steve Haycroft and Neil Cowley.
Since the inaugural event in 2013, participants have raised more than £1 million for COPS, a UK charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives while on duty.
Previously, representatives from the Force have joined other cyclists for the 180-mile ride from the Police Memorial in London to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
However, to mark the 10th anniversary of the UK event, the Force has set up its own Northamptonshire Police chapter and instead of travelling to the capital, the team started the first leg of the tour at Force Headquarters in Northampton.
Chief Constable Nick Adderley accompanied the team on the first section of their 90-mile ride, which stopped at several locations enroute including the memorial garden at the Force’s Northern Accommodation Building in Kettering.
The team paused to pay their respects to much-loved colleagues PC Alex Prentice, Sergeant Paul Keany and PC Jason Hill, who have all sadly died in service over the past three years.
Chapter Lead of Northamptonshire Police Chapter, Sergeant Simon Randall said: “It’s a challenging event both physically and mentally, but it’s also very satisfying to know we’ve raised money for COPS and in memory of some incredible officers, who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“We all recognise the dangers of policing, but no-one expects to die in the line of duty, so when such a tragedy occurs, the charity supports the loved ones who are left behind to ensure they get all the help they need.
“This event is always poignant however, this year was even more emotional, as we remembered PC Alex Prentice who sadly died in April, and our colleagues Paul Keany and Jason Hill who passed away in 2020 and 2019 respectively.
“This was also the first year we started the tour in the county after setting up our own chapter to mark the 10th anniversary of the Police Unity Tour, and we would like to thank all our colleagues who gave up their free-time to support us.
“We would also like to thank Corby MOT for their sponsorship, which enabled us to buy cycle shirts and supplements, and Brixworth Workhouse Cafe and The Mud Kitchen Cafe in Cogenhoe who provided refreshments.”
On Saturday (August 20), the team joined more than 100 riders for the second day of the tour, which included the traditional pit stop at Towcester Police Station, where the Force’s army of volunteers served refreshments.
The cyclists finished day two at Drayton Manor Park in Tamworth, where they met the families of the fallen officers they had ridden for and handed them an engraved blue metal bracelet.
Simon added: “We all received a blue memorial bracelet inscribed with the name of a fallen officer, which we wore in their memory during the ride before handing it over to a member of their family.
“It is always emotional to find out about the person you are honouring, however when you get to meet their family, regardless of how tough you think you are it gets very misty-eyed indeed.”
On Sunday (August 21) the team were joined by Chief Constable Nick Adderley at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire for a service of remembrance and to lay flowers at the base of the Force’s memorial tree.
So far, the team has raised £4,850 for COPS however, if you would still like to support any of the Force’s riders, you can donate at www.justgiving.com