Oxford

PC Andrew Harper: Widow thanks bikers who joined ride

Members of the public also gathered along the route to show their support Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Members of the public gathered along the route to show their support

The widow of a police officer killed on duty has thanked the 5,000 bikers who took part in a "ride of respect".

PC Andrew Harper, 28, died as he responded to reports of a burglary in Sulhamstead, Berkshire, on 15 August.

Lissie Harper led the convoy on the 15-mile route from RAF Benson to Abingdon Airfield in Oxfordshire on Sunday.

Writing on Facebook, she said it had been "an honour" to ride with people from across the country in memory of the Thames Valley Police officer.

She said: "I wish I could thank you all personally but I hope this will suffice.

"I know that it was a long day with lots of waiting in the cold but I can't tell you how proud I was when I saw every biker and pillion lined up waiting to begin.

"You have all touched my heart and given me hope again."

Image caption Lissie Harper was the passenger on her husband's motorcycle, ridden by her brother Jake Beckett
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Sunday's ride had initially been organised for a "small group of riders"

Mrs Harper thanked the emergency services, the police and the Police Federation for their help on the PC Harper Ride of Respect Facebook page.

She also thanked Benson and Abingdon RAF bases and other supporters.

PC Harper's funeral was attended by hundreds of people at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford on 14 October.

Mrs Harper said then: "Although Andrew was strong he was also unfailingly kind, a gentle giant with a heart of gold."

They had been together for 13 years. At the time of PC Harper's death, they had been married for four weeks.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Memorial plaques and police flags were attached to many of the bikes taking part
Image copyright Family handout
Image caption PC Andrew Harper had married Lissie four weeks before his death

Sunday's ride had initially been organised for a "small group of riders" to celebrate PC Harper's memory.

Organiser Sian Sloper said she had been "overwhelmed" by the support.

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