“I wasn’t always a cyclist, in fact I’m pretty new,” and yet Sergeant Darren Wilkins will ride the 300km from Sydney to Canberra this weekend for the 2019 Remembrance Ride. Now in its 7th year, the NSW Police Legacy Remembrance Ride is about supporting NSW Police and their families in times of tragedy or need.
“Both my wife (Mareika) and I are serving Police Sergeants in the NSW Police. We are raising two young boys, Jack (13) and Ben (11) whom I’m privileged to be the step dad to”, Darren told us.
“The boy’s biological dad, was also a former NSW Police Senior Constable. Daniel was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of traumatic events experiences during his time with the police. He left the police and unfortunately later took his own life in 2014. I’ve seen first hand since that day the effects such a loss can have on two children.”
Run by the not-for-profit NSW Police Legacy, the Remembrance Ride is about making a difference to police families in need. Police Legacy have been around for over 30 years and provide emotional and financial support to widows and dependent children, regardless of whether the police officer was serving, retired or the circumstances of their death.
“Our family are passionate about supporting Legacy to try to give back and help others that are now or will in the future be put in a similar position as my boys.”
“My children have benefited from grief counselling, wellbeing and family activities, group social outings with other legatees and annual holiday camps each year. They’ve had access to educational grants and can apply for scholarships. One of the most beautiful heartwarming things is seeing the boys faces light up at something as basic as the birthday card and small gift they receive in the mail each year. It’s a small token that reminds the boys they are not forgotten by the wider police community.”
Darren will be riding the whole 300km, while the two boys will be cycling the last section of the ride into Canberra, in remembrance of their father. It also shows their appreciation and recognition for officers and families who have sacrificed to protect the wider community.
Officer Sgt Brooke Notley will also be joining the Remembrance Ride this year, and is riding for her late friend late Ange McCann, and her daughter, Lucia.
“Ange died by suicide when Lucia was seven years old. I have seen the benefits Police Legacy have provided Lucia and her family over the years. Police Legacy offer much more than a ‘one-off’ fix – they continue to assist and support families for as long as the families want to be involved. Nobody is forgotten,” explained Brooke.
She is determined to finish the 300km ride, after only two months of training.
“In February when I began training, I had a fall from my bike and injured my knee. I needed surgery to fix it. I was fortunate to be able to slowly turn my legs over on the bike by the end of February.”
It is her perseverance and commitment to Ange, Lucia and the Legacy that has encouraged Broooke to continue training for this Ride.
“Getting out of bed at 4.30am to ride before work became easier as the donations started to come in. I was fortunate to meet a group of cyclists from my local area who began to assist me by taking me on weekend rides, encouraging me and providing their knowledge about cycling. Things I had no idea about. The help they have given me has been invaluable and I am truly grateful.”
“The support NSW Police Legacy give is unconditional and essential,” said Brooke, “As a serving member of the Police for 23 years I am grateful and fortunate that my family or I have not required there assistance. Unfortunately I know of too many occasions where Police Legacy services have benefited those in need.”
We wish all the riders a happy, safe and successful 2019 Remembrance Ride.