Northamptonshire police on their bike to raise cash for charity supporting officers who died in line of duty

Twelve-strong team ready to pedal 180 miles in three days

By Kevin Nicholls
Monday, 5th July 2021, 7:51 am
Updated Monday, 5th July 2021, 7:54 am
PC Ian Rudkin will be saddling up with a 12-strong
PC Ian Rudkin will be saddling up with a 12-strong

A dozen current and former Northamptonshire coppers will be saddling up to join colleagues from across the UK riding in this year’s Police Unity Tour charity cycle ride.

The group will set off on a 180-mile pedal from the National Police Memorial in central London to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire later this month.

This is the seventh year the event has been held in the UK — last year’s ride fell victim to the Covid-19 pandemic — supporting Care of Police Survivors.

COPS is a charity close to the hearts of the riders and dedicated to helping families of officers who lost their lives in the line of duty, providing practical and emotional support to ensure they receive the help needed to rebuild their lives.

PC Rob Stevens is the Northamptonshire Police ambassador for COPS — and a veteran of this event.

Rob, who will be taking part for the fifth time, admitted: “It’s a challenging event both physically and mentally, but it’s also very satisfying to know we’ve raised money for such a worthwhile cause and in memory of some incredible officers.

“While we recognise the dangers of policing, nobody expects to die in the line of duty.

"When such a tragedy does occur, the charity aims to ensure the surviving family receives all the support and help they need and remain part of the wider police family.

“We all receive a blue memorial bracelet inscribed with the name of a fallen officer, which we wear in their memory during the ride before handing it over to a member of their family.

“It is always emotional to find out about the person you are honouring, however when you get to meet their family, regardless of how tough you think you are it gets very misty-eyed indeed.”

Sergeant Simon Lilley was the most recent servicing Northamptonshire officer to die in the line of duty. The 30-year-old was mown down by a drunk motorcyclist while diverting traffic into a lay-by census point on the A5 at Weedon in November 1991.

This year's Northamptonshire team will be made up of Sergeants Simon Randall and Peter Ticehurst, PCs Lucy Sculthorpe, Ian Rudkin, Chris Howes, Mike Seuke and Nathaniel Foster and retired officers Steve Haycroft, Kevin Smith and Neil Cowley.

Following the service at The National Memorial Arboretum, the team will be joined by Northamptonshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Simon Nickless, to lay flowers at the base of the Force’s memorial tree.

■ If you would like to support any of the Team Northants cyclists, you can find their individual fundraising pages HERE or to find out more about the fantastic work of the COPS charity, please visit their website