27 July 2019
Six representatives of Derbyshire Constabulary are taking part in this year’s Police Unity Tour (PUT) – an 180-mile cycle ride in aid of the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity which started from various points across England and Wales yesterday (Friday 26 July).
The tour, which is backed by fund-raising chapters representing many forces, ends at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas tomorrow (Sunday) ahead of the annual memorial service organised by COPS which is dedicated to supporting the families of fallen officers.
For the first time, Derbyshire’s PUT team, which is being sponsored by Derbyshire Police Federation and Derbyshire Benevolent Trust, is joining the East Midlands Chapter made up of 37 riders from Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire.
Derbyshire’s cyclists are: Malc Shakespeare, a retired officer and now a police staff member, and Stu Kershaw, a DS in the Force’s foreign national offender team, who are both taking part for the third consecutive year having cycled from London to Staffordshire for the PUT in previous years; Chief Constable Peter Goodman and PC Graham Fish, joining the PUT for the second time, and newcomers Chief Superintendent Dave Cox, the Divisional Commander for the South, and retired officer Tim Smith, who now works in the disclosure unit.
All riders wear a wristband featuring the name of a fallen officer which is presented to the family of that officer where possible at the end of the ride.
The riders set off from Leicestershire Police Headquarters on Friday morning after a brief service at its memorial garden and the day’s route took them to Derbyshire’s Ripley HQ for a 2.30pm memorial service and wreath-laying led by the Force chaplain.
A wreath was also being laid at the Moto Services in Leicestershire and at Bulwell Police Station in Nottinghamshire.
Police leaders and fallen officers’ family members will be at the arboretum to see the PUT cyclists, accompanied by The Blue Knights motorcyclists, arrive at around 10am on Sunday.
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton will be among those welcoming the riders and is also attending the 11am memorial service.
“I wish our riders the very best of luck with the ride and look forward to seeing them all arrive at the arboretum safe and well,” says Tony.
“The COPS memorial service is one of the key events in the policing year and gives everyone in the police family the opportunity to join the families of fallen officers and show their support. It is a very moving service and one that I would encourage all officers to attend at least once during their careers.”
After the service, a guard of honour is formed by the Police Cadets and Staffordshire Special Constabulary as everyone makes their way to The Beat, an avenue of trees each dedicated to a force.