Six serving police officers have completed a 71.449 kilometre walking challenge and raised more than £9000 in memory of their friend and colleague, PC Ewan Smith.
Last year, PC Smith died unexpectedly at the age of only 36. In March 2020 he had been unable to attend work due to a headache. Later that day he suffered a seizure and was rushed to hospital.
Tragically, Ewan was found to have a brain tumour, he never recovered consciousness and died three days later.
Ewan left behind wife, Natalie, their sons, Austin, and twins Fletcher and Franklin who were aged five and one at the time.
At 7pm on Saturday May 1, Ewan’s colleagues and friends; Detective Sergeant Charlie Cronin, PC Andy Gore, PC Dave Roberts, DC Karen Bryant, PC Charlotte Vale and PC Wendy Wray, set off from Southend Police Station and began their walk, in tribute to Ewan’s police collar number, 71449.
The team made their way to Grays Police Station, where they had worked together with Ewan, passing through Hadleigh, Benfleet, Pitsea and Stanford-le-hope, arriving at their halfway point during the early hours of Sunday May 2.
After eating some much needed food, tending to their sore feet and treating a couple of minor injuries, the team set off again.
As they made their way towards Chelmsford, the walkers hit Orsett as the sun was rising over the county that Ewan served for more than 14 years.
The team continued onto Billericay, where they stopped for their last break before heading to Essex Police Headquarters.
A mile before the finish line the officers were joined by Ewan’s wife and sons, who walked the final part of the journey with them.
19 hours after they had started their challenge in Ewan’s home town of Southend, they crossed the finish line in Chelmsford alongside Ewan’s family, having walked 71.449 kilometres.
“It was hard work” said an exhausted PC Andy Gore, who had planned the route for the team.
“We wanted to do something that would be a challenge and we have the muscle aches and feet blisters to prove just how tough it was.
“But we were all determined to get to the end because we were doing it in Ewan’s memory and for his family.”
Having originally set out to raise £2,500 for Ewan’s wife and three sons, the team have now raised more than £9,000 for the family.
“We have been completely overcome by everyone’s generous donations” said Detective Sergeant Charlie Cronin.
“We never envisaged we’d raise this much money and we would like to thank every single person who has donated to our cause.
“We know nothing we do can ever make up for loosing Ewan, but we hope that we can make Natalie, the boys and Ewan’s parents and three sisters, feel a little better on Ewan’s behalf.”
Ewan’s widow, Natalie, said: “I am so touched by the thought Charlie and the team have put in to this and I know that Ewan would have loved the idea.
“Incorporating Ewan’s police collar number and the areas where he lived and worked in the walk makes it very personal and special.
“It wasn’t until Charlie sent me the Just Giving link, that I realised the team were raising money for us. I was completely shocked and overwhelmed. I can never begin to thank everyone for their thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity.
“We have been left devastated by Ewan’s death and miss him every day. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone in remembering him and have the continued support of his friends and colleagues from Essex Police”
If you would like to donate please go to the team’s Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/pcewansmith