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Force cycling team raises £15,000 for COPS

It was a gruelling and emotional three days for a worthy cause.

A total of 28 police officers and staff cycled 180 miles for the UK Police Unity Tour and raised more than £15,000 for a charity which cares for the families of officers who lose their lives in the line of duty.

Joining the team was Leicestershire Police Federation chairman Tiff Lynch and workplace representatives Jon Carter-Lang, Emma Gilbert and Laura Millward, alongside 26 other riders and support staff including Chief Constable Simon Cole and Assistant Chief Constable Phil Kay.

The group from Leicestershire Police made up the East Midlands Chapter of the Unity Tour and finished with riders from across the UK at a memorial service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

The team smashed their original target of £10,000 and have so far raised more than £15,000 for Care of Police Survivors (COPS). Nationally, the ride has raised in excess of £50,000 for the charity.

COPS is a UK registered charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives while on duty. It aims to provide survivors with the help and support they need to cope with the loss of a loved one and ensure that they remain part of the policing family.

Tiff said: "When I signed up for the ride I don't think I had really thought it through properly - the pain of sitting on a bike for six hours a day and cycling 180 miles. It was an incredibly tough three days both emotionally and physically but the team spirit was immense and really pulled us all through.

"Arriving at the memorial service was incredibly emotional and put the pain of the previous couple of days into perspective. It really hammers home the sacrifices made by officers and the danger they put themselves in on a daily basis." Chris Moore, whose father Leicestershire PC Bryan Moore was killed while on duty in 2002, took part in the ride.

He explains: "COPS provides a support network for dealing with such a loss from the first moment it happens and for as long as you need them. Dealing with the grief and the trauma is not an easy process. It's a long path and having that kind of support is second to none."

Chief Constable Mr Cole said: "It was a privilege to be part of the COPS ride this year. It was especially touching to see so many colleagues and families from Leicestershire at the Arboretum for the memorial service.

"To bring people together, including families, former neighbours and even distant relatives who had not met before was very special. The ride was pretty tough and we climbed 4000ft on both Saturday and Sunday. It is fair to say that Worcestershire, Warwickshire and the Severn Valley are pretty hilly!"

The team started their ride at Force Headquarters in Enderby soon after 8am on Friday 29 July and cycled the 180-mile route to the COPS memorial service for fallen officers that at the arboretum on Sunday 31 July.