Throughout the year, our wonderful supporters take on all sorts of challenges to raise money to assist our work. Some are police officers or police staff; others are related to or are friends with members of the police family. Some just want to show they value those who protect and serve their communities. Debbie Hill is one such supporter.
Debbie first met some of her local officers and got an insight into the challenges of the job when she worked as a mortician in a hospital in Kent.
Dealing with the aftermath of murders, suicides and road traffic collisions, Debbie and her colleagues quickly developed ways of coping with the traumatic things they saw. Officers who witnessed post-mortems would ask her how she dealt with what she did, while Debbie wondered the same about them. “I remember feeling sad when they told me they could get counselling but that they would be seen as weak,” she said.
Several years later, while working for a funeral company, Debbie once again regularly encountered her local police force as her colleagues were responsible for all of the Coroner’s removals. But it was news coverage of a violent machete attack on a police officer in London that prompted Debbie to take action.
She explained: “After seeing the incident that PC Stuart Outten was faced with, I knew I had to do something.
“I searched online to try and find a charity that would help with trauma, both physical and psychological. That’s when I came across your charity and was so pleased there was something out there for people to turn to.”
Debbie is hoping to take on the Snowdon Challenge to raise money to support the work of Police Care UK.
First, she will tackle a 10.5 mile bike ride, both on and off-road. Then she will trek to the summit of Snowdon, before making her way back down to complete a 2.5 mile kayak across one of the lakes at the base of the mountain. All three challenges will be carried out consecutively in a single day and should take around 12 hours from start to finish.
As a sports-mad youngster, Debbie was keen on athletics, judo and horse riding and suffered all sorts of injuries including a serious back injury. She overcame that with physio and self-help but has been left with a bulging disc in her spine. Now 57 years old, Debbie is determined to complete the challenge she has set herself even if she does so “on my knees”.
Debbie said: “I have friends in the police and understand how it can affect their home life and relationships. After working in the mortuary, I have seen what they can be faced with. I know of the injuries they can sustain during the course of their duties and understand from my own experiences how debilitating and frustrating that can be.
“This is why I feel strongly about raising money for Police Care UK. I feel we still have a long way to go in helping with trauma. I am very lucky have been able to work through all of my life experiences and come out a very grateful, happy and positive person. Now I want to help those who are struggling in the force.
“Police officers do an amazing job and I have great respect and admiration for them.”