Care of Police Survivors (COPS) is a charity dedicated to those left behind after a loved one has been lost in policing. Each year as a service we mark this event at the National Arboretum at Staffordshire. A growing feature of this is the Police Unit Cycle Ride. This year I am joining Gill, who is the veteran of the Tour and Richard Cooke, our Federation Chair, on this ride to raise money and promote the West Midlands Chapter in our force so more can join in. I look forward to slogging up a hill for a good cause whilst Richard talks to me about TASER. You have got to fund us for the sheer pleasure of imagining this!
This is my first time entering the Police Unity Tour. I was elected as Chair of West Mids Police Federation last year and one of the first official events I attended was the annual service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, for the families of fallen officers. Listening to them speak was a privilege, and seeing the colleague PUT cyclists coming in and presenting wristbands to bereaved family members was a proud moment, so when it was suggested to me that I take part in this year's event I immediately wanted to do it, despite the fact I was overweight and unfit at the time.
I've been training for 6 months now once or twice a week and hopefully I'm ready but doing over 200 miles on consecutive days is going to be tough for me. COPS is a fantastic cause so I'm determined to finish even if I'm at the back!
Gill: I first rode in the Police Unity Tour in 2017. It was an amazing and uplifting - but rather painful - debut (those who devise the routes like to make this a real challenge for us mere mortals)! Meeting the families of those who have died, and hearing their stories, is something I will never forget. It really focuses the mind on the sacrifices officers – and their families - have made in the line of duty, and also that being part of a UK police force really is being part of a very big family.