July 30 2014 Latest news:
By Chandni Tanna
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
A former detective is to cycle 180 miles in memory of the youngest woman police officer to be killed in Britain while on duty.
North Herts detective, Frank Parsons is to take part in the UK Police Unity Tour 2014 after Mandy Rayner died in October 1982 aged 18 when a drunk driver deliberately crashed his vehicle into a patrol car she was a passenger in at Royston.
The 61-year-old will join scores of other serving and retired police officers that will set off from the National Police Memorial in The Mall in London on Friday July 18.
Frank, who retired as a detective from the Herts constabulary 12 years ago and who now works as an assistant investigator with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, will present Mandy’s widowed mother, Sylvia Rayner, with a bracelet bearing the name of her daughter.
He said: “I was a young detective and on duty the night Mandy died and arrived on the scene where it happened in the aftermath.
I attended her funeral and this means a lot to me to be able to do this and give something back to COPS (Care of Police Survivors).”
Mandy joined Hertfordshire Police in June 1982, having already been in the cadets.
When she died she had been out of training school for just five weeks and was based at Hitchin.
The teenager was working a late shift at Royston station the night she died.
A call came through that police officers were pursuing a caravanette which was being driven by a suspected drunk driver along the A505 from Baldock and heading towards Royston.
PC Bowdery, with Mandy, drove from the station to the roundabout where they knew the fleeing vehicle would have to go round.
They parked on the inside of the roundabout and the plan was that when the caravanette went by, they would get in behind and follow it.
But the driver deliberately drove straight at the police car, sending it somersaulting several times. Mandy was killed instantly and PC Bowdery was badly injured.
The driver was jailed for five years for manslaughter and served just three years and four months.
As a tribute the blue lamp that stood outside Hitchin Police Station where she was based was given to the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Frank will cycle through six counties before arriving on Sunday morning at the National Memorial Arboretum.
He will take part in the annual memorial service organised by COPS to remember and honour fallen police officers.
To support Frank visit www.justgiving.com/Frank-Parsons