Posted: Tue 29th Aug 2023

Police air crew takes on epic 800-mile Base 2 Base fundraising challenge for Hawarden based colleague

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Aug 29th, 2023

Three Tactical Flight Officers from the National Police Air Service’s (NPAS) North West region are embarking on an epic 800-mile Base 2 Base cycle challenge to raise urgent funds for their former colleague, PC Gareth James, who is battling stage four colorectal cancer.

On Saturday, 2 September 2023, PC Phil Perkins, PC Mike Dutton, and PC Anna Reid, from NPAS’s Barton base in Manchester, will begin the challenging nine-day cycle, calling in at every NPAS base across England and Wales.

Accompanied by Merseyside Police officer Liam Phillips in the support vehicle, they aim to raise urgent funds for Gareth’s cancer treatment.

Gareth was working as a Tactical Flight Officer at NPAS Hawarden when he was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer.

Despite a dire prognosis, Gareth has beaten the odds so far, and the cancer is stable.

However, to have any hope of a cure, he is forced to look abroad for the necessary medical intervention.

With insufficient resources available through the NHS, he is raising the vital funds himself and has so far achieved £23,000 of his £40,000 target.

Local organisations and police groups have pledged to support the event by sponsoring the support vehicle, supplies, and some accommodation, and making donations to Gareth’s fundraising target.

The journey will start at NPAS Newcastle on 2 September 2023, with the first leg ending 115 miles later in West Yorkshire at NPAS Carr Gate. From there, the team will head across the Pennines, calling in at NPAS Barton before finishing the day, 105 miles later, at NPAS Hawarden.

The subsequent legs of the journey will take the team from Hawarden to NPAS Birmingham, NPAS Husbands Bosworth, NPAS Benson, NPAS London, NPAS North Weald, NPAS Redhill, NPAS Bournemouth, NPAS Exeter, NPAS Almondsbury, and finally to NPAS St Athan – the finishing post.

As the challenge draws closer, Phil said the hills were the biggest dread but if their challenge raised plenty for Gareth, it would be worth it.

“Gareth has been a friend and colleague for many years. Knowing what he has been through is more than enough motivation to do what we can to help him raise money,” said Phil.

“Whilst I have done the odd 100-mile in a day charity cycle ride, I have never done anything on this scale. We have all been training really hard, particularly endurance training, and, when the weather’s bad, on our indoor trainers.

“The hills bring about the biggest dread. There’s quite a bit of elevation, and a particularly big hit on the section between Wakefield and Manchester, across the Pennines.

“What am I most looking forward to? Finishing it. Honestly, I am looking forward to it all with a sense of excitement and dread. It is going to be a real challenge to the legs. But we are looking forward to getting to the end and seeing the result. Getting a decent amount of money to help Gareth is all we want to achieve.”

The officers are calling on the public to support their journey and help Gareth in his fight against cancer.

Donations can be made to Gareth’s fundraising page, here.

Updates on the team’s progress will be shared via the teams Twitter/X and Facebook pages throughout the challenge.

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