5 July 2022
Light the Lakes is an established event in the policing calendar, with officers and staff climbing Wainwright Peaks in the Lake District in memory of fallen colleagues and friends to raise money for Care of Police Survivors (COPS).
In 2012, Detective Constable Heather Cooper was murdered by her partner. Her father, retired Police Sergeant Ian Davis, and Heather’s two young children were supported in the aftermath of the tragedy by COPS. Ian wanted to give back and decided to set up a charity walk to raise funds for the charity. The first event took place on 28 April 2012, with almost 600 police officers, colleagues and friends taking part in climbing the Wainwright Peaks. The event raised in excess of £30,000 and Light the Lakes was born.
Climbs take place over all 214 Wainwright fells, with groups of climbers choosing their own peak to conquer. At 3am, all walkers light a blue flare in honour of those officers who have lost their life. Lighting the peaks acts as a time of reflection for the police family.
On Friday 17 June, a team from Staffordshire Police, including Chief Constable Chris Noble, Retired Chief Constable Jane Sawyers and Staffordshire Regional Rep Hayley Aley, trekked for four hours up Mardale Ill Bell and Kidsty Pike to light their flares. Despite the cold and wet weather, the team remained stoic in their efforts and climbed over 700 metres to light their flares.
Staffordshire Police Fed Rep and Treasurer Claire Bond said: “We were told that the first couple of miles of the four-mile walk would be uphill and they were right, we were huffing and puffing within minutes. However, the chatter amongst the group and learning about each other while trudging up the hill kept us content and motivated.
“Upon approaching the top of the peak, the weather started to close in on us and it became very foggy and chilly. The wind got up to 50mph and started to batter us a little. We got very little sleep pitched up in our tents, and at 2:45am, people’s alarms started going off. Everyone clambered out of their tents half asleep, but ready to light our flares in memory of our colleagues.”
As this year marks the 10th anniversary of Light the Lakes, attendees from all 43 forces joined together following each group’s descent on Saturday 18 June to swap stories and reflect on their impressive feats.
Claire said: “The whole weekend was so memorable and although my whole body is aching, I am grateful to be here, alive and well. Meeting new friends, catching up with those I met last year and helping others feel that same feeling of euphoria that I feel on completing this challenge is just amazing.
“I am proud to be a British police officer and to be part of the wider policing family. I am proud to be representing Staffordshire Police and helping to raise a large sum of money for such a brilliant and worthy cause.”
The Staffordshire team raised an incredible £4,000 for COPS. The fundraising link is still open for anyone who wishes to donate: Team Staffs fundraising for Care of Police Survivors on JustGiving