England

Andrew Harper: PC's death inspires thanks from public

PC Harper and his wife Lissie on their wedding day
Image caption PC Andrew Harper had got married four weeks before his death

The death of PC Andrew Harper has prompted a wave of support for police, with people across the UK turning up at their local stations with gifts.

PC Harper, 28, was killed last Thursday while responding to reports of a burglary in Sulhamstead, Berkshire.

Since his death, colleagues and officers from other forces said they have been touched by gifts and acts of kindness from the public.

A fundraiser launched by PC Harper has also been flooded with donations.

'Means so much to us all'

A young boy called Ethan kicked off the trend when he visited officers in Bicester, Oxfordshire, armed with cakes.

They said the loss of a colleague had affected them, and Ethan's gesture had been "much appreciated".

The youngster drew praise from Twitter users, with some saying they had been moved to tears when they read about his gesture.

A six-year-old boy who had previously had "bad experiences" with the emergency services because of his family's drug and domestic violence problems gave a box of biscuits to officers in York after being moved by PC Harper's death.

Flowers were left beside a flagpole at Chichester Police Station with the Sussex force calling the gesture a "very touching tribute".

Police covering a protest in Cambridgeshire were given a box of doughnuts to thank them "for our work following the tragic death of PC Harper".

A woman planted two rose bushes outside Sutton Coldfield Police Station in memory of PC Harper.

Birmingham East commander Ken Bell said the "kind gesture" was much appreciated.

Flowers and a tribute to PC Harper were also left with officers at Bishop Auckland Police Station in County Durham.

"We would like to extend our gratitude to this kind person for such a heart-warming gesture," a spokesman said.

Officers in Exeter have been given chocolates and a card which reads: "The tragic loss of PC Harper highlights the risks you all take to protect our community."

PC Harper's force, Thames Valley Police, thanked those who took part in a minute's silence at Reading's Championship match against Cardiff City on Saturday.

A mystery artist has also chalked a tribute to PC Harper on the floor outside the Oracle Shopping Centre in Reading.

PC Harper was killed just four weeks after getting married, and his new wife Lissie said he was "the kindest, loveliest most selfless person you will ever meet".

He was planning to take part in the Rat Race Dirty Weekend in March next year, a 20-mile run across 200 obstacles in aid of Children with Cancer UK.

His fundraising page has reached almost 5,500% of its original target of £500, with more than £27,000 donated.

In his My Story section, PC Harper admitted he had "never been much of a runner" but he was taking on the challenge to "try and help save the lives of children with cancer and keep families together".

"Even if only one child benefits then it will be well and truly worth it," he wrote.

Image copyright Virgin Money Giving

A spokeswoman for the charity said the "incredibly kind support" in PC Harper's memory was "deeply touching and will help save young lives".

John Apter, national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said PC Harper's death was "truly devastating" with all officers feeling the pain.

He said: "It is heart-warming to see the public laying flowers and tributes as well as reading comments posted on social media all across the country.

"Policing is tough and dangerous, so it is reassuring to know the public is there at our time of need."

Jed Foster, 20, who has been charged with PC Harper's murder, appeared at Reading Crown Court earlier.

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