Former cop dons his walking boots for charity treks
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A former Leicestershire police officer completed two charity walks over the course of five days to raise awareness of the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity.
Stu Prior, who retired in 2018 and now works in a civilian role in the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), walked in support of the Care of Police Survivors (COPS), a charity dedicated to raising money and offering support to the families of police officers who have lost their lives while on duty.
On Monday 11 June, he travelled to Morocco to summit Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in the Atlas Mountains in North Africa. At 4,167 metres above sea level, it was no mean feat in the gusting wind.
Joining him on his quest were a number of relatives of fallen officers including the children - Chris, Vicky and Jonny - of Leicestershire Police officer PC Bryan Moore who was killed while on duty in 2002 and Matt and Becs Walker, whose father PC Ged Walker died in January 2003 as a result of injuries sustained during the execution of his duty.
Thanks to the excellent guidance of tour organisers and leaders - former Leicestershire Police officer Ken Storer and police officer Dan Andrew - everybody in the group made it safely to the summit which was a fantastic achievement in the poor weather.
(Clockwise left to right: A very wet group on Mount Toubkal, Stu in Marrakesh with teddy PC Roary (who joined them on the trips), Bryan Moore's children and their partners at the Mount Toubkal summit, the group lighting their lights at 3am, lights seen across the other peaks)
Stu said: “We had a fantastic time and although the walking was very hard, slightly cold and windy in parts, we did have a lot of banter and really interesting in-depth chats. What became absolutely clear to me is the support COPS has provided to their families over the years.
“Having made the summit, we all had a real sense of satisfaction and then enjoyed a celebratory meal in Marrakesh.”
Stu then headed straight back to the UK the next day, making his way to Cumbria to take part in the annual Light the Lakes challenge which involves climbing to the top of one of the 214 Wainwright peaks and lighting a flare at 3am in honour of fallen officers.
Stu said: “I was once more joined by current and retired colleagues from the force, catching up on lots of gossip on our hike up. Weather remained dry and we summitted in time to light our flares at 3am at the peak of Helvellyn, 950 metres high and the third highest peak in the Lakes. We saw many other flares lit on other peaks which was an excellent sight.
“Both events were excellently organised so I would like to thank all those who organised the trips and of course those who took part. It provided fantastic memories and was for such a worthwhile and supportive charity.”
He added: “The Light the Lakes challenge was particularly emotional as we were joined by Joanne and Emily Cole, the wife and daughter of recently retired Leicestershire Police Chief Constable Simon Cole, who sadly passed away in March this year. COPS was a charity which was very close to Simon’s heart and he spent many years raising money for the charity as well as raising awareness of the overwhelming support they offer. Light the Lakes was an event he often attended and thoroughly enjoyed.”