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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Cumbria's top policeman to do fell walk in honour of murdered officer

The tops of more than 200 lakeland fells will be set alight at sunrise for a charity event to help the children of a murdered police officer.

Stuart Hyde photo
Stuart Hyde

Detective Constable Heather Cooper, 33, died after receiving a blow to the head and a stab wound to the throat. Her body was found in woods a few miles from her home in Haslemere in Surrey last October.

In her memory, Chief Constable Stuart Hyde and others from Cumbria Constabulary will be taking part in a charity hill walk to provide some financial support for her children.

Light The Lakes, which aims to light a lamp in Miss Cooper’s memory on the summit of every one of the 214 Wainwright peaks just before sunrise on April 28, has been organised by her Surrey Police colleague Sgt Ian Davis.

Surrey Police Federation has started a fund for Ms Cooper’s young family, which has raised more than £30,000, and Mr Davis says he would like to double that.

He said: “We have all been devastated by the loss of Heather and are keen to do something positive to remember her as well as help her family.”

Teams of walkers will each ascend a fell in the dark of night and then, after having synchronised watches with each other beforehand, will light their lamps at 4.30am just before first light.

Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said he believed Miss Cooper enjoyed walking and coming to Cumbria. He told the News & Star he was proud to be involved.

“The whole challenge is a massive undertaking and has received a lot of support. It is a unique way to remember Heather and will hopefully provide some financial support for her children.”

As well as Miss Cooper’s colleagues from Surrey Police and those from Cumbria, officers from Hertfordshire, Essex, Sussex and other police forces will take part in the charity walk.

Mr Hyde said it was important to show their support to Miss Cooper’s family.

“We recently lost an officer, Craig Postlethwaite, and particularly in the circumstances with Heather we want to show our respects and show solidarity with our colleagues,” he added.

The Chief Constable will be climbing the 2,500ft Harter Fell in Mardale. He has already done a practice walk up the fell to prepare for the nighttime ascent.

He said if it is a clear night he should have commanding views of the Scafell range and the sun rising over the Pennines.

To take part email IanDavisCharityWalk@surrey.pnn.police.uk.

Miss Cooper, a mother of two young children, originally from York, had recently given birth and was on maternity leave when she was killed.

Her former partner, Peter Foster, 35, of West Street, Haslemere, has been charged with her murder and is due to face trial at Lewes Crown Court in June.

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