A combined team of riders from Cambridgeshire Constabulary and the Ministry of Defence Police have taken part in the 2023 Police Unity Tour (PUT) cycle challenge.
The riders were once again led by Caroline Scully who was taking part in her fifth PUT event which raises money for the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity and always culminates in a poignant service of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Caroline said: “It all went very well. We had 19 riders in a team of 11 officers and staff from Cambridgeshire and eight from the Ministry of Defence Police.
“We had a support crew of four which were a mixture of MDP and Cambridgeshire, retired and serving, which was great – they were fabulous throughout.”
The team set off on the 115-mile route on Friday morning and rode to Market Harborough in Leicestershire for the first overnight stop.
The second leg of the tour saw them ride across the Midlands for the traditional Saturday night rendezvous at Drayton Manor Park in Staffordshire where they met up with the hundreds of fellow cyclists from police forces across the UK ahead of the Sunday morning finish at the National Memorial Arboretum.
Caroline, whose first PUT was in 2018, was honoured with a special award from her fellow riders.
She said: “Each ride gets to give out an award to say thank you to someone on the team who has gone above and beyond and that can be for anything like loads of fund-raising or lots of support or really kicking on or helping other members of the team.
“I was all set up to present the award to Chris Herring who is our navigator and was on his fifth ride but he came onto the stage and grabbed the mic and said everyone had decided a year ago that I was getting it so they’d all sneaked around behind my back really! But it was a lovely surprise.
“I first went in 2017 when I took two of my cadets and it was just an incredible experience on the Sunday and I said to the organiser at the time that I really wanted to ride the following year because it was right up my street, it was amazing.
“And said ‘Oh good because I’m off to Australia next year so you can organise it!’ and that’s how I got into it.
“We didn’t do it in 2020 because of covid but so this was my fifth ride.”
All riders wear a special wristband specifically dedicated to and inscribed with the name of a fallen officer.
Caroline was riding in memory of Hertfordshire Police colleague PC Bruce Lister who died in January and took the opportunity to meet members of his family on Saturday evening.
They were also at the service on Sunday to hear Bruce’s name read out on the roll of honour along with 10 other officers who have lost their lives over the last 12 months.
Caroline said: “You know why you have done the ride but it is very different when you meet the families who are experiencing that grief, whether it’s for the first time or the 21st time.
“It gave me a chance to introduce them to the event alongside the charity and to explain everything to them.”
The Cambridgeshire/MDP team has raised more than £8,000 for COPS but supporters can still make a donation via the JustGiving page.