Charitable causes highlighted at conference

21 May 2015

 Police officers from across England and Wales do an extraordinary job, and many go one step further completing extraordinary charity challenges in their spare time to raise money for causes often close to their heart.  

A selection of officers came forward to talk about their personal charitable endeavours at the Federation’s Annual Conference in Bournemouth this week.

•    A neighbourhood sergeant from Northumbria, Sean McGuigan will be rowing across the Atlantic Ocean for two months with one other crew member to raise funds for Alzheimer’s Society and St. Clare’s Hospice.  On 15 December this year, they will set off from La Gomera off the coast of Africa to row 3,000 nautical miles to Antigua in the Caribbean, in the ‘Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, the world’s toughest row’.  The race will take up to two months during which time they will be rowing non-stop 24 hours a day in two-hour shifts, unsupported.  Sean will be giving up two years’ worth of annual leave in one go to undertake this challenge. Sean said: “I genuinely wanted to do something to raise money for charity to help others and I thought this would capture people’s attention and draw in donations, and I have always loved a challenge!”

For more information and to donate visit www.northeastatlanticchallenge.co.uk

•    Two officers from Cambridgeshire also took to the stage to talk about the heart wrenching story of their colleague, Rebecca Griffiths, who was diagnosed with bowel and liver cancer last year.  She is competing in a half marathon in October for Hunts Community Cancer Network.  While having treatment and caring for two young children she remains at work as detective sergeant on Cambridgeshire’s major crime team.  She has created ‘Team Bex’ and recruited more than 200 people to run the half marathon with her, many of whom are police officers from forces around the country.

Rebecca’s colleague and friend Liz Groom said: “I can honestly say Rebecca is always smiling and has such a great positive attitude.  She is a great example of a police officer with enormous courage, and the fact she is inspiring so many fellow officers and other people to join her proves what an amazing person she is.”

For more information and to donate visit www.justgiving.com/rebecca-Griffiths4

•    Police Federation Chair Steve White, and General Secretary Andy Fittes, will be taking on the challenge of running a 10km race later this month to raise funds for National Police Memorial Day.  

Andy said: "We are taking to the streets to notch up the miles for a cause close to our hearts, and hope that officers and friends will dig deep to support such an important charity.  National Police Memorial Day is a charity which enables a fitting event each year at the end of September when we remember those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the course of their duties.  Many family members of those who have died attend to reflect and remember their loved ones, and the whole day is recognised nationally as a day of remembrance.  It relies entirely on donations.”

For more information and to donate visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/bowstreetrunners

In addition to the session, special tributes were paid to fallen officers by colleagues who are raising money in their name.

•    PC Russ Wylie from Humberside died in April this year while on duty riding a police motorcycle.  A fund has been set up to raise money for Yorkshire Air Ambulance which airlifted him to hospital that day.  

Paul Yeomans, Chair of Humberside Police Federation, said: “Russ was a well-respected officer and hundreds attended his funeral.  

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance do a tremendous job but rely solely on charitable donations.  The service costs £10,000 a day so we set this as a target for the fund.  So far we have actually raised more than £22, 000.  The Just Giving page closes next week so please do contribute to help this important service run.”

For more information and to donate please visit – www.justgiving.com/remember/181792/Russ-Wylie

•    Merseyside officer PC Neil Doyle died off duty in an incident in Liverpool city centre in December 2014.  Merseyside Police Federation has set up a memorial fund which has so far raised £34,000.  

Peter Singleton, Chair of Merseyside Police Federation, said “We have been overwhelmed by the number of people wishing to make a donation in memory of Neil.  We have set up a bank account 'The Constable Neil Doyle memorial fund' to collect all funds donated, and Neil's family will decide how the proceeds will be distributed in the near future.”

For more information and to donate please visit – www.justgiving.com/neil-doyle-memorial-fund

•    Police officer Paul ‘Charlie’ Charman died a year ago but colleagues have not forgotten him, with a group from Beds, Herts and Cambs attempting the National Three Peaks Challenge in his honour on the anniversary of his death. One colleague said: “Charlie loved the great outdoors so we feel hiking up Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis in 24 hours is a fitting tribute. We would also like to help other people who find themselves in a similar situation.”

‘Charlie’s Challenge 2015’ raises money for CALM – Campaign Against Living Miserably – a small charity which aims to raise awareness and provide a helpline for men to call when they feel down or have hit a wall for any reason. In 2013 there were 6,233 suicides in the UK, of which 78% were men – that’s just over 13 male suicides every day. Male suicide numbers are at a 15-year high, and suicide is now the biggest killer of men aged 20 to 45 in the UK.

For more information and to donate please visit https://www.justgiving.com/teams/team2-MCU

Police Federation Vice-chair Will Riches concluded: “Officers do so much for their communities and it’s great to see they continue to do good in their spare time by completing special challenges and raising money for charity. Whatever you can give to whichever charity, it will be much appreciated.”