PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund
On 17th September 2012 I had driven over to my daughter’s house to see her for no particular reason other than to see her.
We spent 15 minutes or so just chatting and because it was late, and I was due to be on an early shift at the Prison where I worked, we said goodnight and I drove home and my daughter returned to the house.
The following day was a normal day other than I was attending a promotion interview at work. Interview went well although I felt slightly distracted during it and didn’t feel comfortable.
At around 2pm once the interview was over, I set off to return home and go through my interview in my head while driving, for some reason I didn’t have the radio on in the car like I would have done normally.
It was at this point that my life changed forever, 18th September 2012 I had a call on my phone, “is that Bryn Hughes?” yes I replied, “its DCI… from Greater Manchester Police and I’m outside your house and need to speak to you”… 30 seconds of what’s happened and I hear the words, “there’s no easy way to say this”.
My daughter, PC Nicola Hughes, aged just 23 had been killed in a gun and grenade attack by a wanted criminal.
Fast forward to 2014 and I’m training for my first marathon to raise funds for a couple of charities that helped me through the previous 18 months. My first ever marathon taking place at the North Pole of all places!
It’s a cold harsh environment and the only way to survive is by putting one foot in front of the other. This made me think about children that have lost a parent, a large percentage due to Dad killing Mum, and what a cold harsh environment they must be experiencing having lost both parents through violent crimes such as murder.
This is when I decided that my fundraising days would continue and I would establish a charity in Nicola’s name and continue helping people the way she would have wanted.
March 2014 saw the birth of the PC Nicola Hughes Memorial Fund. A fund that provides practical help and support for those children that now find their futures unsure and difficult to say the least.
We have funded; school uniform, IT equipment, iPad’s for homework, driving lessons, drum therapy, equine therapy, transport costs to college, away days to scatter ashes, outdoor clothing for DoE schemes.. the list goes on and will continue to go on.
The fundraising usually involves me continuing to run marathons (Dad run) in various places with a hardcore dedicated group of people that are Police Officers and staff from nearly every force on the country at one stage.
New York marathon three times, Berlin marathon, Chicago marathon, Manchester, Edinburgh, Leeds, in fact you name it we have people running it for us.
The thank you messages we receive from those children all comment how much it means to know that Police Officers are still raising money and providing support for them. For many of them the first contact they will have had with the Police is when they either knock on the door to deliver the dreadful news or to attend at their home when domestic incidents have taken that horrible turn for the worse.
Our plans for the coming year are; a few more marathons, a trip around the three peaks, our annual Blue Lights Horse show and who knows what’s next!
The sacrifice that Nicola and her colleague Fiona paid that day, along with many other Police Officers that have been murdered or killed on duty, as yet receives no formal recognition from the State.
Since April 2022 I have, with the support of the Police Federation of England & Wales, and the Police Superintendents Association, have been campaigning for a posthumous award to be presented to the families of those Officers in the name of their loved ones.
This award would be a similar award to the one awarded to the military (the Elizabeth Cross) which recognises the sacrifice they have made while serving their country. Our approach is why is it Police Officers that are serving their country and protecting the public are not equally recognised for the sacrifice they have made?
The award we are asking for would be named The Elizabeth Medal (due to the campaign starting before the death of Her Majesty the Queen), an emblem that would be presented to the family of any emergency service worker that is killed during operational duties.
So far, we have gained huge political support from numerous cross-party MP’s that have openly supported and called for this award to be progressed through the Honours system.
Myself and the members of the National PFEW board have appeared on national news channels calling for and highlighting the need for this award.
We also recently held a meet and greet at the House of Commons with over 60 MP’s attending all offering their continued support and pledging to put pressure on the Home Office to formally recognise the campaign.
As I write this article a discussion is taking place at Westminster with various MP’s again calling for the Government to recommend this award to the Royal House.
Nicola and Fiona went to work that morning wearing and defending the crown, it’s only fitting that the crown now recognises the sacrifice they both made and their families continue to do so.