23 May 2022
A team of Derbyshire Police Federation members and police staff are once again gearing up for a 180-mile charity bike ride to raise funds for Care of Police Survivors (COPS).
Malcolm Shakespeare, a retired Derbyshire officer who is now a member of police staff, is being joined by fellow retired officer Tim Smith and serving officers Stuart Kershaw, Donna Abbott, Graham Fish, Wendy Rose Wright, Simon O’Connor (now transferred to Nottinghamshire Police), Daron Abbott, Dave Neate and first time PUT participant Rianne Holland.
The team, which will form the East Midlands Chapter with cyclists from other East Midlands forces, will be supported by cycle mechanic Andrew Smith whose employer JE James Cycles allows him to join the event and provides the necessary tools.
Ian Godfrey from Derbyshire Benevolent Trust drives the support van and is always first at the refreshment stops to offer a cold flannel and a bottle of water.
Derbyshire Police Federation has made a donation of £500 to boost the team fundraising.
The Police Unity Tour is now in its 10th year of increasing awareness and honouring police officers who have died in the line of duty.
It raises money solely for COPS which is dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives.
Last year’s event was the first physical ride in two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic but saw the £1 million milestone hit for the amount raised for COPS since the inaugural ride.
The Derbyshire cyclists, led by Malcolm, have now represented the Force at five PUT rides, the first two in Chapter One with the Metropolitan Police and latterly joining Chapter XI which features fellow riders from the East Midlands.
During those five years the Derbyshire contingent have pedalled their way to raising an amazing £5,792 for COPS.
The event has gone from strength to strength every year and due to its amazing success, organisers have formed more local chapters than ever before for the 2022 edition and the East Midlands chapter is at full capacity.
The ride usually takes place over the last weekend in July but because of the policing commitments to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham it will start on Friday 19 August this year.
Outlining the route the Derbyshire team will follow, Malcolm said: “We will be starting in Nottinghamshire and we have quite a hilly route that takes into the heart of Derbyshire and stopping off at Ripley headquarters at 11.3oam for a service of remembrance and wreath laying.
“We then cycle south into Leicestershire for our first overnight stop and the following day we go into Staffordshire and have a full day in the saddle before we all meet up at Drayton Manor. The whole route is about 180 miles.”
Malcolm, who is a keen cyclist, said the PUT ride brought out the very best of the policing family and was a memorable experience for everyone who took part.
“The camaraderie is amazing, he said. “We’ll be meeting up with friends that we haven’t seen for the last 12 months, colleagues, survivors and the families of officers who are deceased and we are looking forward to meeting up with them once again.
“That’s what it’s all about - the police family - and it always feels such an honour and privilege to take part.”
Malcolm will once again be riding in memory of fallen Derbyshire officer Bruce Stevenson who collapsed and died aged 47 while on duty at Cotton Lane Police Station on 7 January 2013.
He explained: “Every rider is given a bracelet with the name of a fallen officer and their end of watch - the date on which they lost their life.
“We carry that throughout the ride and then we hand it to their survivors when we meet them at the tree of remembrance.
“That is a very poignant and a very emotional time for everyone.”
People can donate via Malcolm's fundraising page.