TV personality and model Penny Lancaster has joined Care of Police Survivors (COPS) as a patron for the charity.
COPS support families of police officers and staff who die on duty.
Penny, who recently joined Special Constables in the Channel 4 television show Famous and Fighting Crime, said: “COPS is an amazing charity, having experienced first-hand how difficult, stressful and potentially dangerous policing can be I realised immediately the importance of their work. I am delighted to join them as a Patron.”
During filming for Famous and Fighting Crime Penny was threatened with being stabbed by a suspected shoplifting drug addict she had chased.
Penny said: “I can only imagine the agony of losing a loved one who dies while working for the police. The role is so full-on that family members are certainly invested in the job which makes the impact even worse when something happens.
“The fact that COPS help those families to rebuild their shattered lives is amazing and something I am proud to help with.”
Chair of Trustees, Sir Peter Fahy, said: “We are delighted to welcome Penny as a patron, her experiences with Famous and Fighting Crimehave obviously given her insight to the tough job of policing and an appreciation of the devastating impact a death on duty has on a family.”
The regular panellist on ITV’s Loose Women show has even considered joining the police after her experience on the Channel 4 programme. She said: “It’s such a difficult job, but the camaraderieand team work coupled with the knowledge you are making a difference make it very rewarding.”
COPS was founded in 2003 by Christine Fulton MBE and retired Strathclyde police officer Jim McNulty nine years after Christine’s husband, PC Lewis Fulton, died on duty when he was stabbed in an incident in Glasgow.
The charity enables the families, who refer to themselves as survivors,to support each other as well as providing them access to counselling services. Built around a peer-support model the charity supports more than 400 survivors who have lost a family member while they were serving with the police.
COPS National President Denis Gunn, whose son Richard died on duty responding to an emergency call 15 years ago, said: “Only a survivor can fully understand what another survivor endures, that shared experience is the basis of our peer support programme.”
The charity holds a number of events each year for the survivors including an Annual Survivor Weekend which culminates with a remembrance service at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.