A team of cyclists from Nottinghamshire Police are preparing for this summer’s Police Unity Tour (PUT) cycle challenge to raise funds for the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity.
The Nottinghamshire riders are part of the PUT East Midlands Chapter alongside fellow officers and staff from Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
The team is led by Sarah Stables, who is also president of the East Midlands Chapter, and features Ben Skellern, Jeremy Gascoyne, Paul James Lefford, Gavin Berry, Feron Thomas, Christophe Sutton, Liam Thacker, Matthew Rogers, Melissa Evans, Simon O’Connor and Neil Waugh.
Rebecca and Matthew Walker, whose father PC Ged Walker was killed on duty in 2003 when he was dragged 100 yards as he tried to take the keys from a stolen taxi, will also be riding with the Nottinghamshire team in memory of their Dad.
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.
Supporters who want to make a donation can do so via the East Midlands Chapter’s JustGiving page.
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 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 at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham it will start on Friday 19 August this year.
The Nottinghamshire riders and their East Midlands colleagues will set off on their 180-mile challenge in their home county before following a hilly route into the heart of Derbyshire before stopping off at Ripley for a service of remembrance and wreath laying.
The team then cycles south into Leicestershire for their first overnight stop and the following day they enter Staffordshire and have a full day in the saddle before meeting up at Drayton Manor Park.
On the Sunday, all chapters of the PUT ride into the National Memorial Arboretum near Alrewas where COPS holds its annual service of remembrance as part of its families’ weekend.
Sarah said: “I got involved for the first time in 2017 but Nottinghamshire Police weren’t taking part at that time and Leicestershire Police were running the East Midlands Chapter so I contacted them and told them I was interested in taking part in the ride.
“So, I joined the Leicestershire team for that ride and I am now president of the chapter.
“I am a keen cyclist so wanted to get involved because of that but it raises money for such a good cause so that was also very important.”
Sarah, who has taken part in Iron Man events and long-distance cycle challenges in the Pyrenees, said the whole team was looking forward to the event which has developed into one of the key highlights of the policing year.