COUNTY NEWS: Sussex Police officer takes on marathon for cause ‘close to her heart’

The officer tackled the run in support of the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund, set up in memory of Greater Manchester Police officers Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, who were killed while responding to a burglary in September 2012. Picture: Sussex Police

The officer tackled the run in support of the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund, set up in memory of Greater Manchester Police officers Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, who were killed while responding to a burglary in September 2012. Picture: Sussex Police

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A Sussex Police officer tackled the New York City Marathon on Sunday in aid of a cause ‘close to her heart’ and has raised more than £2,000.

Sergeant Clare Kenward took time out from her role at the Serious Collision Investigation Unit in Haywards Heath to tackle the 26.2-mile event in New York.

“I’ve always liked a fitness challenge, but I had never taken on a marathon in spite of it being on my bucket list,” said Clare.

She added: “The barrier was knowing that it took a massive commitment of time and training, but as I read a little more about the charity, I was moved to take part and raise money for a cause that I felt so connected to.”

The keen runner, cyclist and swimmer is no stranger to endurance events and took part in the marathon in support of the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund, set up in memory of Greater Manchester Police officers, Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone, who were killed while responding to a burglary in September 2012.

“As a police officer, I am so aware that the call that Nicola and Fiona responded to could have been attended by me or any of my colleagues. Along with my experience as a Family Liaison Officer, I understand the devastation that the sudden death of a close family member causes.”

The officer has more reason than most to relate to the charity, after suffering her own bereavement as a young adult, when her parents were involved in a road traffic collision. Her mum died, aged 47, and dad suffered serious injuries and spent six weeks in intensive care before years of rehab.

“At that time my focus was not on the actions of the other driver who was eventually dealt with for careless driving, but on keeping our family functioning,” she said.

“Three of my siblings had moved away, and I was at home with my 14-year-old brother and my maternal grandmother, who was suffering with dementia. My mum – her only child – had been caring for her after the death of my grandfather. It was difficult time.

“My other siblings, friends and family were very supportive and what made the difference was the generosity of our parents’ friends and colleagues who raised some money to support us.”

The charity supports children under 21 who have suffered a tragic loss of a close family member through violent crime such as murder or manslaughter and the officer said that it is ‘this type of assistance that the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Foundation can offer’.

To read Clare’s story, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/clare-kenward.

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