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 and now aiming to raise £3000, 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 which includes his account of the hardest day so far on his trip….
Day 28 (16/8) – Leatherhead to Surrey Police to Hampshire Constabulary
I need to start with a very big thank you to DCC Amanda Blakeman, the bakers and eaters from Hindlip Hall of West Mercia Police who donated more than £200 from the proceeds of a big cake sale – your endeavours are really appreciated!
I was waved off from Leatherhead by Metin Enver (PFEW Strategic Advisor) and rode the relatively short distance to Surrey Headquarters. I was tweeted a couple of times to warn me about the last hill to headquarters – which was a bit draining to say the least.
Arriving at Surrey HQ, I had a warm welcome from CC Nick Ephgrave, DCC Gavin Stephens and our PSAEW LGBT lead Clinton Blackburn. I was also joined by Lucy Hutson, a Chief Superintendent from Hampshire who had agreed to ride with me to their Headquarters.
On another great day, Lucy and I set off into the rolling hills of Surrey. The phrase sounds rather splendid but add that to a very challenging headwind and the route soon started to take its toll. Lucy was an excellent cyclist and I had to work hard to keep up on my ‘go anywhere’ cross bike. We stopped a few times for quick refreshments, including dropping into our friends at Designed Events Productions who made a generous donation to the charity – thanks guys!
Lucy led the way as we continued on to Hampshire headquarters and had quite a welcome from CC Olivia Pinkney, ACC Ben Snuggs and several other supporters. It was a relief to arrive after a very testing day. A very big thank you to Lucy for riding with me, her kind donation and all the support she gave me.
Day 29 (17/8) – Hampshire Constabulary to Wiltshire Police
It was an early start from Hampshire headquarters and as I cycled away, like many parents that day, I was fixated with my phone awaiting exam results……at least it kept my focus away from my aching body!
It was another hot day, but at least the wind was kinder. If my body was a battery, the red indicator would be flashing. The day beforehand had taken its toll, and I just kept a steady rhythm going. The route took me through some wonderful countryside which, looking at hundreds of signs, appeared to predominantly owned by the military.
For the first time in the whole trek, my chain came off but it was fairly easy to fix. However, within another 15 minutes, I was careering down a steep slope when my front tyre blew out. It was no Formula One pit stop change – but I managed to sort it out and slog the remaining miles to Wiltshire headquarters, number 41 on the list.
Day 30 (25/8) – Wiltshire Police to Dorset Police
One of the challenges of this event is the logistics and today was no exception – I took two trains and cycled 15 miles from Chippenham before I had even arrived at the start line for the day.
I left Wiltshire HQ on what was another nice day. The route was fairly quiet and took me through some lovely countryside. However, as the day developed the roads got busier and more uncomfortable. After a rather unhealthy lunch at a burger van, I got back into a rhythm for the remaining miles to Dorset Police headquarters.
I was met by two of our members, Paul and Pete, and was treated to some delicious Cornish biscuits and a cuppa before heading a final five miles to my accommodation for the evening.
Day 31 (26/8) – Dorset Police to Devon and Cornwall Police
It was an early start and I cycled 15 miles to Dorchester station. It was a cool and steady ride and I treated myself to breakfast and a coffee at the station. I was joined for the remaining journey by Colonel Tony De Reya of the Royal Marines. Tony is the husband of Sam – our PSAEW female representative. Tony looked fit and I reminded him that I had cycled 98 miles in the 24 hours before we had met…!
The route took us along the very pleasant National Cycle Route 2 – through wonderful countryside and views. The chat helped the miles go by, discussing the similarities and differences between our roles, but as time went by, we both started to feel the heat of the day and the route started to get more and more steep and hilly. It began to get a very tough route, where I started to spend more time out of the saddle than in it!
We re-fuelled at Axminster with a bacon sandwich and hot drinks before taking the A35 to Honiton and then the fast A30 to Exeter. The speeding traffic kept our concentration levels up and we made good progress and arrived at Devon and Cornwall Headquarters to be met by the wives, family dog and two of our members, Craig and Jim. Thanks to Tony, Sam and the gang for helping on this exhausting day.
I am not sure whether it was cumulative tiredness, the route, the heat or a combination of all three but today was the hardest day of the whole journey so far. However, at least I had passed the 1900 miles mark!
HQs reached: 43/46
Total miles so far: 1901
Total time cycling: 172 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 £2821 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.
Plan for the remaining challenge
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