Day 21 – shocking impact of the weather

Time for a reset after passing the latest milestone yesterday and thinking about the next – the quarter way mark.

Today I was pushed on the swim by a woman running. Yes, running. In fact, there are now more people running and walking in the pool than there are swimming, very weird. But this woman was really fast and I felt pretty wimpish as I didn’t seem to be going much faster than her.

The bike was straightforward and I had company for the last third, which was a pleasure. Then the run was very windy and cold again but the winter clothing is now well in use.

I felt pleased to have completed another Olympic-distance triathlon in routine fashion but recognised the weather is going to be a real test. And that probably my biggest pleasure is now standing in the gym shower, allowing hot water to return my body temperature to normal.

But today was also a reminder of the shocking impact of how the weather can have a devastating impact. It is the anniversary of floods in Cumbria that took the life of Police Constable Bill Barker in 2009.

The traffic officer and father of four children was swept away by a burst river that collapsed a bridge he was standing on as he diverted traffic from imminent danger.

I remember writing about the tragedy and feeling shocked at the sudden and vicious impact that suddenly tore a loving father from his family, at 4.40am the day before his 45th birthday.

His widow Hazel said: “How do you put into words how you feel about somebody you are so proud of? Bill was my best friend, my forever friend and an amazing dad.
“Even when he was exhausted from work he would always take time out for the kids. I have the comfort of knowing Bill died doing the job he loved and the fact he was helping others is typical of Bill.”

Today I paid tribute to Bill and all the officers and staff who died on duty on November 20. They were:

1844 – Police Constable Uriah Eden – Metropolitan Police

1863 – Police Constable Frederick Patrick – Metropolitan Police

1883 – Police Constable William Silvey – Metropolitan Police

1915 – Special Constable John Moreby – Cambridge City Police

1922 – Special Constable Joseph Irwin – Ulster Special Constabulary

1937 – Inspector Henry Woodhead – Lancashire County Constabulary

1939 – Police Constable Ronald Vigour – Metropolitan Police

1940 – Detective Constable Brian Hawkes – Leicester City Police

1940 – Detective Sergeant Leonard Norman – Leicester City Police

1940 – Detective Constable Edwin Trump – Leicester City Police

1940 – Police Constable Charles Winterbottom – Kingston-upon-Hull City Police

1974 – Police Constable Robert Forde – Royal Ulster Constabulary, GC

2009 – Police Constable William Barker – Cumbria Constabulary

Please help me raise money to build a fitting tribute to over 4,000 police officers and staff at the National Memorial Arboretum. You can donate here

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