Police family Lights the Lakes for Care of Police Survivors

Posted on June 2, 2014 | Category :Uncategorized | No Comments

Light the Lakes picture

HUNDREDS of people from forces across the country lit up the Lake District in aid of Care of Police Survivors this weekend.

Light The Lakes involves participants climbing a Fell or Hill the night before – in this case Saturday May 31 – and at a specified time, in darkness, to light up their fell with torches or lanterns, usually at about 3am. Click here/see below to former chief constable of Cumbria Police, Stuart Hyde, (far left) explain his experiences of the event.

Light the Lakes, by Stuart Hyde QPM

Sitting on top of the Bow Fell, the sixth highest Wainwright in the Lake District at 4am, looking out over the mountains and valleys of the Lake District.

Isolated from the rest of the world, and reconnecting with memories of those colleagues, lost for ever, taken too early, yet not forgotten. Such are the personal moments from Light The Lakes

Light The Lakes (LTL) is an annual event in The Lake District to commemorate those fallen officers who have contributed so much to making our communities better. It has helped to raise the profile of and funding for Care Of Police Survivors (COPS), a charity which provides ongoing support the families of fallen officers

The concept of the event is very simple. People enter as a team, usually workmates or family and friends. They select a Fell or Hill and “book” it with the organisers. They commit to ascend the night before and at a specified time, in darkness, light up their fell with torches or lanterns, usually about 3am. For the lower hills this means walking up in the dark from about midnight for the higher hills it requires a few hours sleep on the summit in either a tent or Bivvy bag

This year my team (my friend and our respective daughters) selected a challenging hill; Bow Fell. Sustained by a late meal at the Old Dungeon Ghyll, a famous walker’s pub in the Lakes known locally as the ODG, we set off in late evening light at about 9pm, and started the climb. Flat to start, then an ascent of over 700m to reach the peak whilst carrying sleeping bags, bivvies’ and cooking kit, plus all our safety equipment, made it a hard slog.

Pitching camp on the top, I soon squeezed into my cosy sleeping bag, parked on a ledge but protected from the wind. At about 2.30am we all arose and stood anxiously on the very top waiting for the 3am start in the cold wind. The excitement was palpable, then at 3am lights appeared on adjacent hilltops, as people switched on their big torches and flares, we were not alone. We counted 30 different lights altogether, some from miles away.

Before our descent, I returned to the very top of Bow Fell, in silence as the first rays of light appeared in the distance, a panoramic landscape of hills developed a breathtaking sight as dawn was breaking. More significantly, I had a personal solitary moment to reflect on colleagues I knew who had died, remembering the sacrifice they made. Silent, alone and thoughtful, putting the world into perspective. A truly uplifting experience

Then down to breakfast and later a BBQ with some of the other 400 participants from Forces throughout the Country, who had between them lit up over 140 summits. Claire Hensman, the Lord Lieutenant, visited our base at Ambleside Rugby Club to offer her thanks, to wish us all well and to present a cheque from Flood-It. A poignant event, of commitment, adventure and fun.  Our gratitude and thanks to fallen colleagues for being who they were, remembering the treasured  memories we have of them, and that we will never forget the families they left behind.

Donations for COPS to http://www.ukcops.org/

Information about Light The Lakes https://www.facebook.com/LightTheLakes

My personal thanks to

•         Ian Davies from Surrey Police whose enthusiasm and energy has sustained this event, a true ambassador of policing http://surreypf.co.uk/light-the-lakes-2014/

•         To all the COPS team for being there at the event and always

•         To Thwaites for sponsoring the event http://www.thwaites.co.uk/

•         And to Flood-It for their support and use of their portable Flood-It lights http://www.myfloodit.com/

If you wish to participate next year, please contact

IanDavisCharityWalk@surrey.pnn.police.uk or stu@stuhyde.com



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