Archbishop John joined riders from three of Wales’ police forces – including Chief Constable of South Wales Police Matt Jukes – at Christ College this morning, to offer a blessing before they set off on a charity ride.
The riders are taking part in the Police Unity Tour, during which police officers, staff, retired officers and staff, and families of officers killed on duty ride from across the country, converging at the National Arboretum in Staffordshire for a memorial service to remember officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
The unity tour is raising money for Care of Police Survivors (COPS), a charity which provides support for the families of officers who lost their lives on duty, or while travelling to and from work.
There are 11 ‘chapters’ of riders, one for each region. Riders from South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys Police and Gwent Police left Brecon this morning, and the Welsh chapter will be complete when they are joined by riders from North Wales Police later today.
They will be riding in the region of 200 miles between Friday morning and Sunday morning, stopping at Bromsgrove and Tamworth on the way.
A spokesperson said: “Our aim is to raise as much money as we can for COPS, but we are just as keen to raise awareness of the great work they do. In addition, with so many survivors attending the ride and service, it’s important show them that we haven’t forgotten their loved ones.
“In all, we have 51 Welsh cyclists riding, and there should be more than 300 from across the UK. The event is challenging, but very rewarding. The feeling we have when we arrive and are welcomed by the families is indescribable, and it’s a very moving and emotional event.”
Giving the blessing, Archbishop John said: “The community you represent is a tight-knit one and, when you suffer loss in that community, you all feel it, but to do something like this which helps you affirm that sense of community I think is remarkable.”
You can find out more about COPS on its website www.ukcops.org and you can follow the riders’ progress on a number of Twitter accounts including @TeamSwp and @DppTeam.
There is also a number of ways you can donate online to the charity, including www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-jones237
You can also text SWPC99 and a value of your choice (eg £1, £5) to 70070.