PC Tubby’s policing legacy lives on as family member joins Leicestershire Police
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The great-great-great grandson of Leicestershire’s most famous policeman is following in family footsteps more than 100 years after his ancestor first took up the role.
Continuing the family’s policing legacy for the first time since 4 April 1908, PC Dan Challis, part of cohort PCDA (3), joined as a Leicestershire Police officer after taking his oath to the Queen in November 2020.
Dan said, “I was destined for a career change and always had policing in the back of my head as something I wanted to do. When my mum had told me more about our ancestry after applying to the force, I couldn’t believe he was such a well-known face.
“My great-great-great grandfather was part of Leicestershire Police for twenty two years following his stint in Cape Verde fighting in the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879. He served as a veteran in the war over-seas and received a campaign medal for his service. The medal has been passed down the family and I was proud to hold it being sworn into duty.”
While his name was PC John William Stephens, he gained the nickname PC Tubby because he was the heaviest serving police officer in English history.
“At twenty-five stone, he became a public figure whilst patrolling the clock tower in Leicester City Centre. He was seen on postcards, in newspapers and people travelling to Leicester to watch the football would seek him out to say they’d met him. When he died, thousands of people lined the streets of Leicester for his funeral.”
Chief Constable, Simon Cole said, “PC Tubby Stephens certainly made his mark within Leicestershire Police history. People knew him from far and wide for his community spirit and cheerful personality, undeniably the qualities we see in our officers on the streets today.
“In 2017, we ensured his grave was marked through funding from the Leicestershire Police Federation (LPF) trust after hearing PC Tubby Stephens had been buried at Welford road cemetery in an unmarked grave. At the time, we were unable to trace his family, so are now thrilled to welcome Dan into policing at Leicestershire and have Tubby’s policing legacy live on.”
Everards of Leicestershire added, “It’s really fascinating to hear that PC Tubby Stephen’s great-great-great grandson has joined Leicestershire Police.
“As part of our charitable work we do here at Everards, we donate 5p for every pint sold of our limited edition ale in memory of PC Tubby to Care of Police Survivors (COPS). Since its launch in 2017, we’ve donated £1800 to help their tremendous work in supporting the families of police officers and staff who have lost their lives on duty.”
Whilst PC Challis, 24, of Melton, has some big boots to fill, he’s excited to be taking on a new career path like his great-great-great grandfather after working in IT for six years.
Dan added: “I’m most looking forward to trying new things as I progress through the force and seek out opportunities to learn new skills in various departments.
“I remember when I was younger taking Tubby’s medal to show and tell in primary school, perhaps not realising at the time that he was such a big deal. Never did I think that one day I’d be following in his footsteps and holding that same medal on the day of my attestation.
“I’m the first in our family since him to join Leicestershire Police so I hope I live up to the bar he’s set, although I don’t want to adopt his size!”
If you are interested in a career with Leicestershire Police please visit our recruitment pages.
For more information about supporting COPS through Everards of Leicestershire please visit the Everards of Leicestershire website.