Today, in reaching this major milestone of three quarters of my target of completing 100 Olympic-distance triathlons in 100 days, I was invited to Essex by Chief Constable BJ Harrington to pay tribute to Police Constable Gary Veal, who tragically lost his life going to the assistance of motorists on the A12 in 2002.
The triathlon began at the Merville Barracks gymnasium in Colchester, named after the Parachute Regiment’s Corporal Bryan Budd VC, who lost his life in a firefight in Helmand Province in 2006.
Due to the Garrison Commander’s kind hospitality, we had a lane of this marvellous pool to ourselves and enjoyed a very pleasant 1,500m swim. It was then out onto the roads for the 40km cycle ride heading south. Immediately the wind was a factor, especially when we reached Mersea Island where the fierce breeze seemed to be in our faces no matter where on the island we were.
Back to Colchester in a circuitous route to make up the mileage and thankfully BJ is a strong cyclist who was able to tow me into the worsening wind.
Then we set off on the 10km run around the perimeter of the barracks a couple of times and the opportunity to chew over the challenges in policing, in particular the opportunities to invest in the coming year. Mr Harrington is buoyed by additional funding that is likely to come from increases in the Council Tax and see new officers and staff make a huge difference in the county. I look forward to visiting again soon to discuss some of the roles the new colleagues will fill, particularly in tackling some of the high harm criminals.
Overall, it was a tough triathlon, especially as the wind on the cycle made it pretty difficult going. But I tip my hat to Mr Harrington who made a huge effort to pay tribute to a fallen Essex Police officer and participate in my attempt to raise funds for the UK Police Memorial.
We also paid tribute to every police officer and staff member who died on January 13. They include three special constables who volunteer their time to protect the public. Coincidentally, two specials were seriously injured in Colchester during the night so Mr Harrington was keen to point to the huge sacrifice and courage of the whole police family.
The full list of those who lost their lives serving on this date is:
1795 – Constable David Price – Officer of the Union Hall Public Office
1915 – Detective Constable William Andrews – Kingston-Upon-Hull City Police
1921 – Sergeant Stephen Carty – Royal Irish Constabulary
1921 – Special Constable Robert Compston – Ulster Special Constabulary
1921 – Sergeant Jeremiah Curtin – Royal Irish Constabulary
1926 – Police Constable Victor Wilson – Metropolitan Police
1930 – Inspector Walter Bett – Staffordshire County Constabulary
1941 – Special Sergeant Sidney Hannam – Plymouth City Police
1941 – War Reserve Constable Henry Marshall – City of London Police
1961 – Special Constable Clifford Bassett – Ulster Special Constabulary
1968 – Police Constable David Davies – Norfolk Joint Police
1982 – Sergeant Edward Thomson – Strathclyde Police
1989 – Police Constable John Smith – Royal Ulster Constabulary, GC
2002 – Police Constable Gary Veal – Essex Police
2008 – Police Constable Christopher Hart – Greater Manchester Police
Please support my effort to build a fitting tribute to the courage and sacrifice of all officers and staff by donating here. Thank you.