Association Vice President Paul Griffiths is raising money for National Police Memorial Day by cycling to every police HQ in England and Wales.
Covering more than 2200 miles, Paul will be cycling three to four days per month and is inviting members and other colleagues and staff to join him along the route.
His aim is to raise £1200 and you can read about his progress on the blog below.
“This blog has been written since the tragic murder of PC Keith Palmer in the Westminster terrorist attack on 22 March.
“My condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues: he will be remembered on National Police Memorial Day in Cardiff in September.”
The journey so far….
Day 6 (10/03) – Lancashire to Cumbria
The day started in Lancashire’s headquarters, meeting Stuart Noble (PSAEW) and Tony Bradley (Police Federation) to present them with a donation from our Association towards their local police memorial. The foundations have been laid and we wish them well. It was also great to see Steve Edwards from NARPO. He is a trustee for the National Police Memorial Day and kindly turned up to wish me well on my travels.
I set off to cycle through Preston with the plan to meet a local rider, Graham Chapelhow, for the rest of the journey to Cumbria. I arrived 8 miles later at the RV and was a little disappointed at how sluggish I was finding it already. Quick glance down and noticed that, yet again, I had a flat tyre. Graham’s first job was to help me sort that problem out. All resolved, we set off towards Cumbria. The weather was good and the ride was relatively kind. Fuelled by a coffee and stop, we were making good progress in the morning but then with an hour to go to Kendal, heavy rains came. We struggled through and arrives at the Union Jack Café for an all-day breakfast and lots of hot tea to warm up and fuel up.
As we started out from Kendal, the cloud lowered further and the air was damp. We started the challenge of The Shap along the A6. It went up….and up…and up and up! Graham’s cycling experience was starting to show and I encouraged him to continue to the summit and wait for me. It was – in short – torturous but I was over the moon to see him at the top.
After a quick chat, I was keen to enjoy the benefit of the downhill – only to find that the cloud masked a false summit and we had to continue demoralisingly further up. He did remind me that ‘pain today is muscle tomorrow’. Needless to say I went from a snail pace to a bullet when the downhill section started and morale improved at the same rate. We continued at a steady pace until finally arriving at Cumbria Headquarters for a quick chat with Andy Slattery before heading off to recover for the evening.
Headquarters visited: 8/46
Miles completed today: 78 miles
Hours cycling today: 8
Total miles so far: 445
Total time cycling so far: 43 hours
Day 7 (11/03) – Cumbria to Northumbria
The day started with a text from David Felton to say that he had just picked his bike up and would be on time. This had to be a joke – surely?. Mr Felton Senior, a former member of the Association, had given up his day to support us both on the long trek to Northumbria. When he arrived, he confirmed that they had picked a bike up from a friend 20 minutes beforehand! I helped him put his front wheel on and then spent the first few miles teaching him how to change gear.
It was not long until we had to navigate ourselves over the Pennines. It was a gradual and steady uphill for quite a long way. As we were plodding along, a motorbike slowed and the rider waved. It was the friend of David’s – Tommo – who had lent him the bike. It was starting to get surreal…
We finally got to the Hartside Summit and enjoyed a well-earned hot drink. David described it as a ‘canny climb’ whilst Tommo removed his front wheel and put it on correctly – oops! Felton Snr and Tommo were our support vehicles for the next few hours as we continued to cross the challenging terrain. We paused for a short food stop at the ‘Welcome to Northumberland’ sign before getting back in the saddle and cycling through beautiful countryside.
It was especially poignant to reach the memorial for PC Joseph Carroll who was killed by a detainee as he was driving him to custody. At this point Tommo left us and we carried on, along more gentle terrain. We finally made it to Northumbria headquarters as the light was beginning to fade – in conjunction with our fading energy levels.
I was really grateful to the support from Family Felton who put me up and took me to the pub for a celebratory drink.
Headquarters visited: 9/46
Miles completed today: 72 miles
Hours cycling today: 8
Total miles so far: 517
Total time cycling so far: 51 hours
Day 8 (12/03) – Northumbria to Durham and onto Cleveland
Today, I was cycling alone and really noticed the difference. I had been spoilt with support for two days. It was a nice day and my sat nav took me through Newcastle and over the Tyne. I rode out of Newcastle and paused for a selfie at the Angel of the North. In a short space of time, I entered the County of Durham and focussed on making it to their headquarters, eventually arriving in time for lunch. The new build is really impressive and I took time to relax and reflect in their memorial garden.
Then it was back on the track to cover 35 miles to Cleveland. My sat nav took me along dedicated cycling routes which had suffered from heavy rain – at times I was just trudging through mud and feeling grateful I was on a cross bike. The cycle route took me all the way to Cleveland and with the postcode to headquarters locked in, I was determined to get there as soon as I could. The route turned more urban and the roads a lot busier but eventually I arrived at my destination – a royal mail depot?
A quick phone call to Mark Thornton established I had cycled to their PO Box address and had to return back along the route to the headquarters. Despite having a very short grumpy moment, I eventually arrived and I was very grateful to Mark and his family for looking after me that evening
Headquarters visited: 11/46
Miles completed today: 59 miles
Hours cycling today: 7.5
Total miles so far: 576
Total time cycling so far: 58 hours 30 minutes
Day 9 (13/3) – Cleveland to North Yorkshire Police
It was nice to be waved off by Chief Constable Iain Spittal – a far more experienced cyclist than myself. I followed a cycle path out into the countryside and I was soon enjoying a pleasant ride towards North Yorkshire headquarters. This was a very short ride and despite a couple of short and steep hills, it was reasonably flat. The weather was good and I was delighted to arrive at their HQ to finish the March leg.
I was initially met by Rob Thorpe – a NYP officer who also runs a cycling website www.pedalnorth.com He even interviewed me for the website! I was then greeted by T/ACC Phil Cain and Supt Richard Anderson. It was a relief to finally arrive but I was really touched by the branch who made a generous donation on a big cheque. Thanks all! They reminded me that NYP was the police cycling capital of England… happy for other forces to prove them wrong!
Headquarters visited: 12/46
Miles completed today: 26 miles
Hours cycling today: 2.5
Total miles so far: 602
Total time cycling so far: 61 hours
National Police Memorial Day will be held in Cardiff on Sunday 24th September 2017 in memory of fallen officers.
Paul has so far raised £530 and you can donate to his cause at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PaulGriffithsPSAEW
You can follow his journey on Twitter @griffindares and keep checking the website for more blogs as his journey continues.
The road ahead…
Paul will be in touch with Branch Chairs and Secretaries before each section.
Plan for the remaining challenge
Day 10 (6/4) – North Yorkshire Police to West Yorkshire Police
Day 11 (7/4) – West Yorkshire Police to South Yorkshire Police (joined by Chris Hardern and Ade Robinson)
Day 12 (8/4) – South Yorkshire Police to Humberside Police
Day 13 (22/5) – Humberside Police to Lincolnshire Police
Day 14 (23/5) – Lincolnshire Police to Nottinghamshire Police and then Derbyshire Constabulary
Day 15 (2/6) – Derbyshire Constabulary to Staffordshire Police and West Midlands Police (to be joined by Jim Allen and Chris Haward)
Day 16 (3/6) – West Midlands Police to West Mercia Police
Day 17 (18/6) – Isle of Man – TT Route (to be joined by Gavin Thomas)
Day 18 (22/6) – West Mercia to Warwickshire Police and Leicestershire Police
Day 19 (23/6) – Leicestershire Police to Northamptonshire Police to Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Day 20 (24/6) – Cambridgeshire Constabulary to Norfolk Constabulary
Day 21 (25/6) – Norfolk Constabulary to Suffolk Constabulary
Day 22 (26/6) – Suffolk Constabulary to Essex Police
Day 23 (13/7) – Essex Police to Hertfordshire Constabulary to Bedfordshire Police
Day 24 (14/7) – Bedfordshire Police to Thames Valley Police to Civil Nuclear Constabulary
Day 25 (15/7) – Civil Nuclear Constabulary to London
Day 26 (31/7) – London: British Transport Police, Metropolitan Police Service, City of London Police to Kent Police (to be joined by Dan Murphy)
Day 27 (1/8) – Kent Police to Sussex Police
Day 28 (16/8) – Sussex Police to Surrey Police to Leatherhead to Hampshire Constabulary
Day 29 (17/8) – Hampshire Constabulary to Wiltshire Police
Day 30 (25/8) – Wiltshire Police to Dorset Police
Day 31 (26/8) – Dorset Police to Devon and Cornwall Police (to be joined by Andy Munday and others
Day 32 (8/9) – Devon and Cornwall Police to Avon and Somerset Police
Day 33 (15/9) – Avon and Somerset Police to Gloucestershire Constabulary
Day 34 (16/9) – Gloucestershire Constabulary to Gwent Police
Day 35 (23/9) – Gwent Police to Cardiff