27th Jun, 2022

Final memorial run in honour of Coventry fallen cop

Emily Fish 26th Jun, 2017

A MEMORIAL run in honour of a fallen Coventry cop will stage its last leg this weekend – to recognise 35 years since his death.

Staff at West Midlands Police will pay tribute to PC Joe O’Brien by taking part in the final annual run this Saturday (July 1).

PC O’Brien died after being hit by a passing motorist while on duty and diverting traffic during a road race in November 1982.

The run for Care of Police Survivors (COPS) has suffered from falling numbers over the years as other tributes and memorial events have been organised in his honour.

But following a conversation with PC O’Brien’s family it has been agreed to host a final race as part of the 5K Coventry park run at War Memorial Park.

It is anticipated more than £1,000 will be raised for the charity COPS.

Chief Inspector Kerry Blakeman, who is the race organiser and will also take part in the run, said: “It is now 35 years since Joe was tragically killed and during that time thousands of police officers and staff have run in his memory.

“Those people who worked directly with Joe are no longer with the force and we felt this was the right time to look at other ways of paying tribute to his legacy. We have decided this will be the last race we organise and Joe’s family are aware and support our decision.

“Joe will never be forgotten and his memory already lives on with a road named after him; Joe O’Brien Close which is opposite Willenhall Police Station, the Police Roll of Honour and the Coventry schools race in memory of Joe every year.

“I consider it to be an honour to take part in this milestone event and pay tribute to someone whose name is still fondly remembered within the City of Coventry.”

PC O’Brien, who was aged at 48 at the time of his death, joined Coventry City Police in 1962. He transferred to the newly formed West Midlands Police in 1974.

During the last ten years of his service, he was beat officer in the Ernesford Grange and Binley areas.

For 20 years he was a member of the Coventry Godiva Harriers.

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