30 July 2018
Excellent team spirit and a focus on honouring fallen officers meant the Force’s Police Unity Tour (PUT) cyclists completed their 160-mile sponsored ride to the National Memorial Arboretum yesterday.
The team – the East Midlands Chapter of the PUT - set off from Force Headquarters on Friday and arrived, along with other PUT team members, at the arboretum in cold and wet conditions to be greeted by crowds of officers, family members and well-wishes ahead of a memorial service organised by the charity Care of Police Survivors as part of its annual family weekend.
The sponsorship money they collect will be donated to COPS to help further its work supporting the families of fallen officers.
“The ride was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all who took part. The team was excellent, very supportive of each other and we all bonded well over the weekend having a lot of laughs together. There were definite highs and lows. There were great highs when achievements were made such as completing Day 1 and overcoming many hills. The downs were the pure volume and gradient of the hills and, over the last day and a half, the weather,” explained Charlotte Carter-Lang, president of the chapter.
“The main thing that made it a success were the people. The support team were fantastic making sure all the riders got what they needed from food and drinks to physio support and, when all else failed, a hug and words of encouragement.
“The riders trusted each other and supported each other physically and mentally with the marshalls showing exceptional skills in pushing people up the hills and making sure everyone stayed together and safe.
“There’s no doubt it was tough for all especially the novice riders but not one of them gave up or stopped and they have so much of which to be proud. The survivors in our team not only had the physical and mental challenge of the ride but also had the extra pressure of thinking about why they were doing it which obviously added an additional emotional challenge to the ride.”
During the memorial service, this year’s roll of honour was read by COPS national president, Denis Gunn with the congregation observing a minute’s silence for:
PC Steve Jenkins, Gwent Police – 6 October 2017
PC John Alcock, Grampian Police – 7 October 2017
PC James Dixon, Thames Valley Police – 5 December 2017
PC David Fields, South Yorkshire Police – 25 December 2017
Senior Forensic Practitioner Jacob Maselino, Met Police – 28 January 2018.
There were also emotional addresses from the families of fallen officers. Margaret Logan, wife of Reserve Constable Clifford Evans, of the former Royal Ulster Constabulary who died in 1976; Caroline Speakman, sister of PC Jonathan Speakman of Cheshire Police who died in 2005; Heather Dallow, wife of PC Robert Dallow of West Midlands Police who died in 1995; John Fordham, son of DC John Fordham of the Met who died in 1985.
After the service, families and other guests made their way to The Beat, the avenue of trees dedicated to each force, where roses and wreaths were laid in memory of fallen officers.
Each of the cyclists involved in the PUT worse a wristband dedicated to a fallen officer which, where possible, was presented to that officer’s family ahead of the service.
The East Midlands team was made up of (with the name of the officer they are riding for in brackets):
Chris Moore (his father, Bryan Moore)
Vicky Moore (her father, Bryan Moore)
Jon Carter-Lang (Andy Munn)
Rebecca Walker (her father, Ged Walker)
Mathew Walker (his father, Ged Walker)
Liam Hennessy (Christopher MacDonald)
Sarah Stable (Ludwick Sowka)
Kerry Smith (Austin Jackson)
Ryan Coleman (Nicholas Archer)
Leanne Marshall (Timothy Burton)
Rob Nixon (Ian Wheelwright)
Cara Guest-Moore (Giles Drinkall).
The support team was made up of Mark Morris, Charlotte, who wore a wristband for Ernest Beecroft, Jim Holyoake and team mascot KLOP the dog.
You can support the East Midlands PUT by donating via JustGiving.
Plans are already underway for next year’s event with Mr Nixon pledging to take part again and Leicestershire Police Federation chair Tiff Lynch also volunteering to cycle.
Charlotte explained: “Despite the gruelling nature of the ride the friendships made were well worth the effort and everyone single rider said how much they enjoyed it and all will be back next year either as riders or support staff. I’m so proud of each and every one of them and it was a privilege to support them all. Needless to say I’ve been roped in to be president again next year.”