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 2000 miles and now aiming to raise £2500, 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.
Here’s his latest blog after his biggest stretch so far – five days in a row, passing the 1000-miles-cycled mark and more than halfway through the total of police HQ destinations….
Day 18 (23/6): West Mercia Police to Warwickshire Police and Leicestershire Police
I was really grateful to my friend, Rich, who kindly picked me and my bike up from home and safely delivered us to Hindlip Hall to start the next phase of the challenge.
I was to be joined this morning by DCC Amanda Blakeman who was riding to Warwickshire Headquarters. I really appreciated Charlie Hill, Adrian Magee and Sue Willcox turning out wave us off. By 7am we were in the saddle and on the road.
The start of the route was countryside and very pleasant, stopping for the obligatory selfie when I reached the 1000 mile mark!
Amanda was good company and the time went quickly before the need for a coffee stop treat. Despite good cycling weather, the route became busier as we approached Leamington Spa along the A46. However, it wasn’t long before we had completed the 37-mile journey and arrived at Warwickshire Police HQ to a warm reception, chocolate biscuits and squash from Chief Constable Martin Jelley.
I was joined for the afternoon journey by Chief Constable Simon Cole and one of our members Johnny Monks. A larger than life character, Simon was soon belting out renditions of “There’s No Limits” as we pedalled our way to Coventry. They were both very supportive and good company along the 34-mile route of countryside, urban areas and fast roads, and we soon arrived at Leicester HQ for coffee and a quick tour of their memorial.
We then ventured a further few miles to De Montfort University where we cycled into the Leicester Police Women’s Inclusive Network conference. Kerry Smith (Leicester Branch Chair) invited me up on stage to say a few words. I can only begin to imagine the disappointment of the audience on seeing me dressed in Lycra – nevertheless – I made them laugh, spoke about the importance of women in policing and managed to raise over £100 in a collection for the charity! A big thank you for their kindness, support and sympathy!
Headquarters visited: 24/46
Hours cycling today: 6.5
Miles covered today: 71
Total miles so far: 1061
Total time cycling: 100
Day 19: – Leicestershire Police to Northamptonshire Police to Cambridge Constabulary
I cycled the short distance to Leicester train station which was a meeting point with Kevin Gladwin, my cycling partner for the day. Kevin works for JML Software. We had a quick breakfast at the station and then started riding the busy and fast roads out of Leicester to Market Harborough. After the habitual coffee and cake refuelling, the journey and route became much more pleasant as we followed a wonderful old rail track towards Northants. The route was through very pleasant countryside and involved two very long tunnels. I was really surprised at how dark the experience was until I realised the added challenges of riding in the dark with sunglasses on!
The last five miles into Northants proved surprisingly challenging as the wind whipped up and buffeted our faces. We finally arrived and had a very warm welcome from Chief Constable Simon Edens, PCC Stephen Mold and the whole Superintendents Branch. I also appreciated their hospitality and generous donation to the charity – thanks folks!
We were soon back in the saddle and had to ride the fast A45 for a short while. The experience was made more difficult for Kevin who had a burst front tyre. After a short stop to do the repairs we found a kinder route. After an hour Kevin headed off to the nearest train station to return to his car in Leicester and I got my head down and headed for my final destination. At one point, I was cycling at speed next to the Grafham Water when I encountered another unexpected problem” thousands and thousands of insects. If you add speed to swarms of insects and a liberal dash of suntan lotion, you get a very unsavoury experience.
Brushing off the debris from my limbs, I managed to get to Cambridgeshire Headquarters in time to meet up with PCC Jason Ablewhite, ACC Dan Vajzovic and our member, Ian Middleton
Headquarters visited: 26/46
Hours cycling today: 6.5
Miles covered today: 76
Total miles so far: 1137
Total time cycling: 106.5
Day 20 (24/6) – Cambridgeshire Constabulary to Norfolk Constabulary
It was a 7.45am start and I was back cycling on yet another very nice day. My good fortune on weather must end at some point!
I made very good progress initially along a route where buses follow a tram-like system (Busway) and the adjoining cycle path helped me cover a lot of ground quickly. In stark contrast, I left that system and followed the satnav which took me through overgrown routes and tracks which resembled long stretched-out sand pits.
I eventually got to Lakenheath to meet up with a Norfolk detective, Verity Holmes. Verity is a cycling fanatic and a marshal on the Unity Tour. She helpfully guided me, sometimes at speed, through the Norfolk countryside. It was great to chat and get some good cycling tips – she is a real expert!
We arrived at Norfolk HQ to be greeted by a friendly face – Dave Marshal.
Headquarters visited: 27/46
Hours cycling today: 6.5
Miles covered today: 76
Total miles so far: 1213
Total time cycling: 113
Day 21 (25/6) – Norfolk Constabulary to Suffolk Constabulary
Verity not only looked after my bike from the previous day but decided to fix a few problems that were appearing – she clearly spotted my mechanical inabilityBeing a fanatic, she again joined me for the day and set a good pace as we cycled away from Norwich towards Ipswich. The route was quite undulating and the wind had picked up which made the morning a tiring experience. I was relieved to stop at Debenhams for a well-deserved lunch.
The afternoon of cycling was where I really started to feel the strain in my thighs and calves. The wind calmed, the day remained lovely but the finish line couldn’t come quickly enough for me. We eventually arrived at Suffolk HQ – the relief was all too obvious in my face! It was really good to meet Matt Rose at Headquarters for a chat before I saw Verity off as she cycled the 43 miles back to her car!
Verity – a big thank you for all your support – you were a star!
Headquarters visited: 28/46
Hours cycling today: 3.5
Miles covered today: 43
Total miles so far: 1256
Total time cycling: 116.5
Day 22 (26/6) – Suffolk Constabulary to Essex Police
I met Jon Dodman, one of our members, for breakfast and he lifted my spirits before the start of my fifth consecutive day in the saddle.
Apart from cycling a very busy A14 over Orwell Bridge, my route soon became more pleasant. I was cycling alone and I was fading a little in the bright sunshine. Even when I got my rhythm going the pace was a little slower than previous days. I made a bit more of effort as I passed Colchester Barracks; I didn’t want the embarrassment of a groups of Paras running past me as I was cycling!
It was a fairly pleasant route and I felt a surge of relief when I finally arrived at Essex Police Headquarters. I was greeted by DCC Harrington and two of our members Rachel Nolan and Stuart Ditchburn. It was a very warm reception, made even better by Essex Witness Care Team who baked a load of cakes and raised £95 for the charity – thank you so much!
Headquarters visited: 29/46
Hours cycling today: 4.25
Miles covered today: 50
Total miles so far: 1306
Total time cycling: 120.75
National Police Memorial Day will be held in Cardiff on Sunday 24th September 2017 in memory of fallen officers.
Paul has so far raised £2230 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.
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 to Pangbourne
Day 25 (16/7) – Pangbourne to British Transport Police London
Day 26 (31/7) – London: British Transport Police, City of London Police, College of Policing, Metropolitan Police Service, NPCC and Home Office to Kent Police
Day 27 (1/8) – Kent Police to Sussex Police to PFEW Leatherhead
Day 28 (16/8) – Leatherhead to Surrey Police 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
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 (17/9) – Gloucestershire Constabulary to Gwent Police
Day 35 (23/9) – Gwent Police to Cardiff