TWENTY-TWO Wiltshire Police riders and four support staff completed a 180-mile cycle ride, raising £7,500 for charity in remembrance of officers who have died on duty.

Sergeant Pete Tuite of the Wiltshire Police began the county’s Unity Tour event to honour fallen officers after attending a similar event run by the Metropolitan Police.

This is the second year Pete has run the event with the help of PC Tracey Davies and former chief constable Mike Veale.

He said: “It’s a brilliant testimonial to the memory of the officers and is something their families turn out in their masses to watch. It has a sentimental value to it.

“The work the charity does to help support families at this hard time is tremendous. They also offer counselling, away days and offer an outlet for people to share their stories.

“This riding event will keep on growing each year and will eventually spread to every service in the country.

He added: “This is a comfort blanket for so many people.”

The cyclists set off from Devizes and rode to Milton Keynes before heading to the National Memorial Arboretum in Tamworth.

Each rider wore a bracelet with a fallen officer’s name on it, and as they reached the finish of the ride they handed that to the family of the officer.

Officers from Wiltshire also laid a wreath at the county force’s tree at the arboretum.

The riders were also riding in aid of Care Of Police Survivors (COPS), a charity dedicated to helping the families of police officers who have lost their lives whilst on duty.

It aims to ensure that survivors have all the help they need to cope with their loss and that they remain part of the police family as they rebuild their lives.

After the riders arrived, the COPS annual service of remembrance was held and the names of the four serving officers and one member of staff who died on duty in the last year were read out.

Police forces participating in the Unity Tour have raised £200,000 for COPS this year.