11 June 2007 is a day that changed me forever.
I was a PC on E Section at Luton Police Station with PC Jon Henry.
The day before, the majority of our section had been involved in the arrest of several lads responsible for handbag snatches.
These lads had managed to get onto the railway track by Midland Road in Luton.
I still remember Jon trying to climb over the fence.
He wasn’t the most agile of people and watching him made me cry with laughter.
He wouldn’t give up. What he may have lacked in agility, he more than made up in determination.
I think he ended up with the job of collating all the paperwork for the handover as well. Did he moan? Nope, he rarely did.
The following morning, the section met, as we always did, for the day’s briefing.
Most of us had got in a bit earlier and we sat at the big oval table, Jon doing the sort of spider jokes my Granddad used to do, you know the ones where your fingertips on both hands pressed together pretends to be spider in the mirror?
He spoke about what would happen if one leg was shorter than the other…would you keep running in circles?
They were poor, poor jokes but again for some reason, the way he told them had me in stitches. He was getting in practice for when his daughter
Maggie was old enough to be told them, at less than a year old, her delicate little ears weren’t quite ready for them!
The call then came in.
There was a man in Luton town centre brandishing a knife.
I was a proactive cop and desperate to get the day off to a good start so up I jumped with Jon, and our other two colleagues Casey and Cat and we raced down the stairs at our different speeds. The lift took too long to wait for – though Jon would definitely have preferred the lift!
Our two double crewed cars waited for the rear gates of the police station to open, they took so long, and then off we went.
The rest is history.
In front of me, my team mate, my friend, Jon, was killed in the most tragic of circumstances, putting his life on the line to protect others.
Over the last 10 years, every 11 June, the anniversary of Jon’s death, I’ve met with his wife Mary and the other E section guys at a curry house to celebrate his life and talk ‘war’ stories.
The same ones come up each time but they still make us laugh.
The last few years Maggie has come along and this year more than any, I saw her not as baby Maggie but as a beautiful young lady, who can easily hold a conversation with the rest of the adults (not hard with regards to me, before those that know me say so!)
She is a polite, imaginative and funny little lady who is an absolute credit to Mary and Jon.
This bike ride will have me sweating, aching, swearing and chaffed (sorry) at times but that is nothing.
What the Police Unity Tour ride will do is bring like-minded people together, telling stories, bonding but more importantly, raising money for police families affected by tragic circumstances.
This blog post was written by PC Luke Glendenning who worked with PC Jon Henry, and was with him when he was killed on duty on 11 June 2007.
He is one of five of our officers who on 28 July will be taking part in a 180 mile bike ride in memory PC Henry and other officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
You can sponsor our officers for their challenge on their Just Giving page or by texting BEDS70 to 70070
Starting at The Mall in London, the team will be escorted past Parliament by police motorbikes to mark the beginning of this year’s UK Police Unity Tour – ‘riding for those who died’.
They will be cycling to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire where they will pay their respects to those officers who are no longer with us.