TWO teams of Swindon police officers will navigate the Three Peaks Challenge this week.
On Thursday evening the two teams will set off to conquer Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon, and will battle to beat the record set by the officers last year of 23 hours and five minutes.
Inspector Paul Saunders, Sergeants Neil Bott and Lawrence Copeland and PC Rich Fay will walk in the officers team for Fatboy’s Cancer Charity with drivers PC Michael Diffin and detention officer Andy French.
PCSOs Cassey Evans, Emma Millarvie, Jason Wines and Rhys Turner make up the competing Community Support Officers team, raising money for Royal Brampton and Harefields Hospital.
Insp Saunders said: “The police officer team will be raising money for the Fatboy’s Cancer Charity.
“It is named after a former officer called Mike Lawless, whose nickname was Fatboy. He died of cancer 15 years ago, and a group of colleagues decided to set up a cancer charity for children in his memory.
“He used to be a nurse before joining the police so they thought it would be fitting.
“It is like an unofficial police charity and the money goes towards helping children who have cancer and making their lives as good as possible while they are going through it.”
The teams will travel light this year and will set their sights on bettering last year’s time, when the officers team came in fastest of the police teams racing in the Firefighters Three Peaks Challenge.
“We had a little bit of training together with the CSO team and there are numerous things we will be doing differently, like not taking so much kit for a start,” said Insp Saunders.
“Our team have been training in the Brecon Beacons as often as we can, and we have been out there five times this year on long walks just to get used to it.
“We are on about £725 so far and we are aiming to hit the £1,000 mark by the time we get back on Friday.
“We are doing this all in our own time and working around our shifts, so we have not been given any time off for training or the event itself.”
PCSO Cassey Evans, of the town centre policing team, said: “A little bit of competition is always good.
“We have all got different reasons for doing it, and it is easier to do it as an organised event.
“My auntie is really poorly so we are doing it for her charity. She is on the lung transplant list at the moment, and the money we raise will be going to their lung and heart appeal.
“They would put it towards a machine called an organ care system, which costs about £200,000. They can extend the life span of an organ in transit from three hours to 12 hours, so it would benefit them greatly.
“We have £650 so far and we are trying to push on because my uncle’s company have said if we get £1,000 they will double it.
“We have not done as much training as the other team but all of us have done our own walks.
“We did Pen-Y-Fan and have done Uffington and The Ridgeway a few times.”
To sponsor the officers team visit https://www.justgiving.com/fatboys3peakschallenge2014. To sponsor the CSO team visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Theblues3peakschallenge.