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Cycle tribute to Wiltshire Police who have died on duty
Five Wiltshire police officers along with Heather and Andy Cooper, parents of Dan who died in 2010, start cycling in the 2014 UK Police Unity Tour (PUT) today.
They will be met at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire by Chief Constable Pat Geenty on Sunday, where he will lay a wreath in memory of Wiltshire Police officers that have died on duty.
Participants will cycle 170 miles over three days, starting at the National Police Memorial on The Mall in London, travelling across six counties to arrive at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Each cyclist will be riding in memory of a police officer who has died on duty. They will be wearing a band embellished with the fallen police officer’s name which they will then present to the family, of that fallen officer, at the end of the tour.
The five riders from Wiltshire Police are: Deputy Chief Constable Mike Veale, Sergeant Steve Bussey, Sergeant Douglas Downing, Police Constable Richard Monk and Detective Constable Fiona Cuthbert with each rider raising a minimum of £400. Pete Tuite, a response sergeant, will be their support and logistics driver.
Money raised from the tour goes towards the charity Care of Police Survivors (COPS), which arranges and finance a survivor’s weekend. This is where the immediate family who have lost a loved one, in the line of duty, can meet other families in the same circumstance and talk about experiences and socialise.
This is how Mr and Mrs Cooper discovered COPS as they lost their son PC Dan Cooper aged 22, in 2010. He died in an road accident in Bradford on Avon while on duty.
Mrs Cooper, who is now the chair of the COPS survivor committee, said: “The weekend made us realise we can have a life after Dan.”
Chief Cons Geenty, who will be attending the National Arboretum in Staffordshire on Sunday to lay the wreath, said: “The death of a serving officer reminds us all of the risks and sacrifices made whilst serving in the police.
"The UK PUT is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness and funds to help families of police officers who have lost their lives on duty and to help rebuild their lives.
"From a personal perspective I have been particularly humbled and inspired by the family of PC Dan Cooper, a young officer who tragically lost his life responding to assist colleagues.
"Dan’s inspirational parents will be cycling alongside Wiltshire officers on the Unity Tour this week. The cyclist’s efforts should hopefully inspire everyone to dig deep into their hearts and pockets to support the COPS charity.”