After just surviving the triathlon on Sunday, I made the steady journey to Lincoln with the aim of getting the best night’s rest ever so I would be able to participate as Chief Constable Bill Skelly and his force’s triathlon team planned to join me in my 83rd triathlon in 83 days.
A late start due to grabbing an extra 40 minutes sleep and stopping twice on the way meant it was 10pm when I checked into Charlotte House Hotel in Lincoln, and it was straight into a sumptuous bed. The alarm was set for 8am. If I could get ten hours sleep it would be amazing and give me a chance of completing the triathlon the next day.
At 1.30am I awoke in a lake, I have never known a cold to have made me sweat so much, and the heating was off and the room chilly. A quick shower and change of clothing before paracetamols would bring my temperature down close to normal. Sleep broken by bouts of coughing meant I was rested but not recovered from a difficult night.
Thankfully I was able to take my time before heading to the David Lloyd Leisure Centre just outside the city. There I met the team who were kindly taking part with me: Mr Skelly, Sam Ward, Lee St Quinton and Beth Wilmot, not to mention Sergeant Emma Ward, who had expertly organised the event.
ITV’s Calendar team (Primetime Media) were there to film our exploits so after interviews we got down to business. We used two lanes with the fit youngsters in one and Mr Skelly and I in the other. I set off steadily while Mr Skelly was obviously determined to set a fast time from the start. As the youngsters swam by my side I would attempt to keep pace but a coughing bout would remind me to ease off. I completed the swim in a reasonable 29 minutes, given my state I was very pleased.
It was then onto the indoor bikes. If anyone has not been into these facilities, the spin room at David Lloyd is something special, with a huge screen offering virtual classes. However, our ride was simply a case of five of us going all out to finish as soon as possible.
I was last on the bike after making a pit stop but managed to catch and level peg with Mr Skelly. Meanwhile, Lee finished his 40km ride in around 54 minutes, which was incredible. Five very sweaty bodies emerged onto the treadmills and pushed hard to complete the 10km, with Sam doing his utmost best to put us all off by making us laugh.
We were all hugely relieved to have completed the triathlon together, good times for all of us, a very impressive performance from Mr Skelly and his triathlon team, especially Lee. Thanks to Emma who presented us with medals made for the day.
And my challenge was to receive a huge financial boost when I was presented with £5,000 from Lincolnshire Police’s charitable funds – Mr Skelly is very keen to support staff wellbeing (he recently provided two extra wellbeing leave days), and wanted to make his own personal tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
And so were other chief officers, ACC Kerrin Wilson has been a huge support from the start of my challenge, and a big thank you to the police and crime commissioner, Marc Jones, for also coming along to support us in our effort.
Assistant Chief Officer Andrew White personally added to the funds and Motorola Solutions made a £500 donation to edge me extremely close to my overall target. Motorola is beginning a major transformation of command and control in the county, after already making a huge difference to mobile policing. I am so grateful for the company’s continued support.
It was a fabulous day, a huge motivation to complete the challenge and see the fitting tribute to fallen police officers and staff built at the National Memorial Arboretum in 2019.
As always, I paid tribute to the officers and staff who died on duty on this date in the past. On January 21, they are:
1737 – Watchman Charles Du Bois – City of Westminster, London
1821 Constable John Armstrong – Officer of the Worship Street Public Office, Middlesex
1847 – Police Constable William Crowley – Irish Constabulary
1850 – Police Constable Robert Stamford – Nottinghamshire County Constabulary
1867 – Police Constable John Chattey – Metropolitan Police
1900 – Police Constable Ernest Beckwith – Metropolitan Police
1915 – Special Constable George Fowler – Metropolitan Police
1919 – Police Constable James McDonnell – Royal Irish Constabulary
1919 – Police Constable Patrick O’Connell – Royal Irish Constabulary
1920 – Assistant Commander William Redmond – Dublin Metropolitan Police
1921 – Sergeant Henry Bloxham – Royal Irish Constabulary
1921 – Police Constable Thomas Johnston – Royal Irish Constabulary
1957 – Police Constable Ronald Chebsey – Shropshire County Constabulary
1981 – Reserve Constable James Stronge – Royal Ulster Constabulary, GC
1991 – Reserve Constable (Retd) Thomas Stephenson – Royal Ulster Constabulary, GC
1994 – Chief Inspector William Wright – Ministry of Defence Police
2002 – Police Constable John Palmer – Lincolnshire Police
2009 – Detective Constable Diane Donald – Strathclyde Police
2009 – Police Constable George Small – Metropolitan Police
2017 – Police Constable Paul Briggs – Merseyside Police