What makes a man or woman a hero is the action they decide to take knowing the enormity of the consequences.
Police officers take this decision each and every day, as they battle the drunks who shatter the High Street shop windows, as they use their shields to protect the firemen who fight the multi-story blaze, and as they stretch every sinew to quickly reach the drivers in distress by the side of the road.
They try and give as much as they can to every incident before rushing to another emergency, sure to be criticised by control room and public alike for not coming free sooner.
But while they succeed in quelling disorder, keeping us all safe and ensuring we freely make our way to our houses, the callous hand of fate occasionally grabs a life at random. It cruelly wrenches a father, a mother, a son or daughter, a brother or a sister, from their loving family.
Among their group of life-long friends it leaves a gaping hole. And it shakes the very foundation on which their colleagues used to stand.
Whether fate chooses the hand of the terrorist or the placement of an old oak tree to catch the police car leaving the road, each and every life it takes is a hero, someone who has unstintingly, on each and every day of their service, put protecting the rest of us first and faced immense risks on our behalf.
I was honoured to be able to join the family and friends of Police Constable Andy Bramma and pay tribute to him on the sixth anniversary of his death.
It was humbling to have their support as I completed another triathlon in my attempt to finish 100 in 100 days to raise awareness and funds to build a fitting tribute to all police officers and staff who lose their lives on duty. I was very glad to be accompanied by his friends and colleagues on the cycle and run.
After a minute’s silence in memory of Andy after cycling to the village where he died, I promised to do all I can to ensure the public knows how hard officers try to protect them and how much danger that involves. The public must not be shocked when tragedy strikes and only then realise how much sacrifice is routinely made on their behalf.
PC Bramma left behind a lovely family and amazing friends – they can be proud of their hero who is now surely watching over them.
Thank you to North Yorkshire Police for allowing me to pay tribute to Andy Bramma and supporting me as I pass the two thirds mark on my challenge.
Sadly, there were many other anniversaries on January 5 and I paid tribute to all of the following:
1812 – Watchman John Bloomfield – City of London
1894 – Sergeant John Harvey – Essex County Constabulary
1938 – Police Constable Hugh Welsh – Glasgow City Police
1941 – Police Constable Arthur Branscombe – Southampton County Borough Police
1941 – War Reserve Constable Thomas Jones – Metropolitan Police
1964 – Detective Constable John Maughan – Metropolitan Police
1966 – Police Constable Gordon Black – Isle of Man Constabulary
1972 – Police Constable George Higgs – Metropolitan Police
1972 – Police Constable William Randall – Metropolitan Police
1976 – Reserve Constable William Evans – Royal Ulster Constabulary, GC
1978 – Police Constable Leslie Bloom – Essex Police
1983 – Police Constable Angela Bradley – Lancashire Constabulary
1983 – Police Constable Gordon Connolly – Lancashire Constabulary
1983 – Police Constable Colin Morrison – Lancashire Constabulary
2006 – Police Constable Karen Balfour – Lothian & Borders Police
2013 – Police Constable Andrew Bramma – North Yorkshire Police
2017 – Inspector Mark Estall – Essex Police