The first time I try to call Peter I can’t get through. There’s nothing but a weird rustling noise. Be funny if this is a cycling pocket call, I think. When I finally get through, he apologises. “Sorry I missed you,” he says. “I was on a training ride.”
If there’s a more perfect excuse I can’t think of it. And Peter’s dedication is apparent in everything he tells me after this. Peter’s one of the more experienced Remembrance Bike Riders, having already ridden in 2015 and 2017. The first long ride he did was the inaugural Three Peaks Challenge in Victoria in 2010, which doesn’t sound like it was much fun.
“It was horrible,” he says. “The days started with rain, ended with rain, and there was rain in the middle… A lot of people pulled out.” Despite all of this he finished the ride. Curious to know how, or in fact, why, I dig a little deeper. And it all comes down to camaraderie. There was a group of seven of them that trained together before the ride, and went down to Victoria together. “It just makes it easier, when you’re in this group encouraging each other, and looking out for each other.”
I can’t think of a better metaphor for the work that Police Legacy does. It’s behind everything we do. And Peter is well acquainted with the Police Family. His father, Sergeant Keith Alfred Haydon, was killed on duty in 1980. He and his family received a lot of support from the Police Force, but Police Legacy had not yet been formed. Over the years since Peter has seen firsthand how much support this organisation brings.
And the support is there for the long term, too. The man who killed his father is up for parole, and the gratitude is obvious in Peter’s voice when he describes his mother’s reaction to having both our Chair Gary Merryweather and Community Support Officer Leisa Doherty in attendance at the hearing.
“And it brings it all back, every time,” he adds, talking about the recent tragic death of Constable Timothy Proctor. “Another young family left without their dad, the Police Force left without an officer… I think the support [of Police Legacy] is massive.”
Does he have his own goals for the ride? Of course he does. He plans to ride in the first peloton, a group which sets itself extra challenges along the way. But more than the personal goal, he’s aiming to raise $2,500 for the charity he holds dear. His employer is happily on board, supporting Peter in the fundraiser BBQ he’ll be holding at his workplace, and helping spread the word.
It’s the money, but it’s also the humanising element that’s important. Bringing the stories to life, putting a human face to an organisation. Oh, and the riding. Don’t forget the riding.