07:27PM, Thursday 28 November 2019
A rugby match played in memory of PC Andrew Harper raised more than £3,500 last Wednesday evening.
PC Harper died while responding to reports of a burglary in Sulhamstead, West Berkshire, on Thursday, August 15.
The match between Thames Valley Police Rugby, known as Thames Valley Stags RFC, and the Metropolitan Police’s XIX RFC took place at Maidenhead Rugby Club in Braywick Road.
The money collected will be donated to COPS [Care of Police Survivors], which supports the families of police officers and staff who have lost their lives on duty.
In addition to the match, which attracted more than 600 spectators including Andrew’s mother and step-father, a JustGiving page has raised more than £3,300 and an auction at least £2,500 for the charity.
Thames Valley Stags club secretary Sergeant Thomas Day said: “Everybody who’s been involved feels like its been a real success.
“Apart from the result from a Thames Valley point of view – we lost 17-25.”
The team was supported by a guard of honour provided by Maidenhead RFC under 16s and a minute’s silence was held.
Sgt Day said ‘it wasn’t about the match, it wasn’t about the result, it was about the amount of money we could raise’.
He added: “No one wants to be playing this match under these circumstances in memory of a colleague, so it’s with heavy, sad, hearts that we’ve come together like this.”
The match played by the Stags is not the first the team have played for a fallen colleague.
The team organised a memorial match in memory of PC James Dixon who died on duty after his motorcycle was involved in a collision with a car on the A4 Bath Road on December 5, 2017.
He added: “We’re all happy that in some small way we’ve been able to help, not necessarily just Andrew’s family but a family of another colleague, because we appreciate the risks that all of our colleagues take in the line of duty .”
He added: “You never want to go to work and not come home that day but it’s a risk that we all face in the police.”
PC Harper’s father, Philip, got in touch with the Advertiser to ask if the paper could ‘thank everyone from the Maidenhead Rugby Club for their kind support, as well as the players from the Thames Valley and Metropolitan police and all who attended the game on November 20 in honour of my son PC Andrew Harper’.
To view the auction go to www.good2bid.co.uk/andrewharper and to donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tom-day7
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