Police widow’s gift to treatment centre

Peter Sweeney, Helen Thomson, BLF Trustee, Barbara Allsopp, BLF Secretary, Kath Rathband, Michael Baxter and Mark Whyman, temporary District Chief Constable Yorkshire and the Humber and PTC Trustee. (S)
Peter Sweeney, Helen Thomson, BLF Trustee, Barbara Allsopp, BLF Secretary, Kath Rathband, Michael Baxter and Mark Whyman, temporary District Chief Constable Yorkshire and the Humber and PTC Trustee. (S)

The widow of the officer who was shot by gunman Raoul Moat has donated £60,000 to Harrogate’s Police Treatment Centre.

PC David Rathband was shot and blinded by the gunman in Newcastle in July 2010.

He took his own life in February this year, but before he died he had outlined a vision of a charity to help others like him who had been injured in the line of duty.

The Blue Lamp Foundation was set up in his memory and this week donated £60,000 to the charity in Harrogate which works with injured officers.

David’s widow and patron of the charity, Kath Rathband, said this donation to the Police Treatment Centre was a fitting tribute to his vision of helping his colleagues.

“We hope also that it will allow us to meet one of David’s personal visions and objectives – to support his fellow police service colleagues who are in need,” she said.

“The latter challenge was particularly close to David.

“We are very proud to be able to provide this support to the Police Treatment Centres on David’s behalf and in his memory.”

PC David Rathband came up with the idea of starting the foundation while lying in a hospital bed recovering from his injuries.

In the weeks after he was shot by Raoul Moat, he came to realise how some members of the emergency services and their families may experience financial hardship after being injured in the line of duty.

He had the idea of starting a charitable group which would provide emergency financial aid to cover unexpected costs.

This could range from issues such as hospital car parking charges, childcare costs and help for relatives to travel from abroad.

The funding from the foundation will help to refurbish specialist bedrooms at the Police Treatment Centre, which helps care for more than 4,000 officers every year, offering intensive residential physiotherapy.

Statistics show that every 20 minutes a police officer is assaulted in the UK.

The treatment centre works with officers to help them recover, offering them a course of rest, relaxation and recuperation.

“The decision of the Foundation’s Trustees to fund the refurbishment of these specialist bedrooms will provide a superb tribute in recognition of what David suffered in his own personal mobility challenges following the loss of his sight,” said Mrs Rathband, speaking at the centre as the foundation handed over a check on Tuesday.

She was joined by the Blue Lamp charity’s chairman Peter Sweeney, trustee Helen Thomson, and secretary Barbara Allsopp. The foundation met with Michael Baxter, chief executive of the centre and Mark Whyman, temporary District Chief Constable for Yorkshire and the Humber and Police Treatment Centre trustee.

The Police Treatment Centre, funded largely by police officers, is now in the process of upgrading its Harrogate facilities at a cost of £1m.

Mr Baxter, who holds the Queen’s Police Medal, said: “The Blue Lamp Foundation’s donation of £60,000 is a tremendous boost and we are enormously grateful to Kath Rathband for her wonderful support.

“The Home Office has given £500,000 and we have been fundraising ourselves, however, there is still a way to go and we would welcome any further support from any other sources.”