Police officers from both sides of the Pennines are to take to the rugby pitch in memory of a fallen officer this September.
Officers from West Yorkshire Police Rugby Union will join colleagues from South Yorkshire, Humberside and North Yorkshire to play a special ‘War of the Roses’ charity game with Lancashire Police officers in memory of Thames Valley PC Andrew Harper.
The clash will take place on September 18 at Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Football Club with all players and supporters being asked to make a minimum £5 donation.
All funds raised on the day will be sent to Thames Valley Police Federation to be given to the family of PC Harper.
Officers plan to make the game an annual event and will name it the PC Andrew Harper Memorial Cup in memory of the officer.
Assistant Chief Constable Tim Kingsman, Chairman of West Yorkshire Police Rugby Union, said: “We have been very pleased to support this initiative by the West Yorkshire Police Rugby Union and colleagues from Yorkshire and Lancashire to organise a charity game in PC Harper’s memory.
“His death in the line of duty has greatly resonated with officers and staff from across West Yorkshire Police as it clearly has with the wider police family and members of the public nationwide.
“The force has formally expressed the sympathy of everyone here to our colleagues in Thames Valley Police at what remains a desperately sad time.”
Inspector Steve Hunter of West Yorkshire Police and Vice Chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Rugby Union, said: “As police officers and rugby players we have been speaking with our friends in Lancashire about how we could show our support to PC Harper’s family, and thought this upcoming fixture would be an excellent opportunity to do just that.
“While it had initially been planned as a one -off game, we really do want to make this fixture an annual event and are having a trophy made which will be dedicated to PC Harper.
“We do plan to ask all players and supporters to make a donation on the day, and I’d urge as many people as possible to come across and show their support.”
The match is scheduled for Wednesday, September 18 with a kick off at 6pm at the Preston Grasshoppers Rugby Football Club at Lightfoot Green Lane, Preston, PR4 0AP.