A fundraising event has been held in memory of a popular member of Crawley’s police team who died just six months before retirement.
Ken Oldershaw, who was one of the area’s first police community support officers, had been battling cancer but died of pneumonia at the Royal Marsden Hospital in March 2014.
Tributes were paid to Ken, who was part of the town’s police team for ten years. Three Bridges and Northgate community forums, as well as the town’s Neighbourhood Watch, valued his friendship and expertise.
His friend and fellow angler, Graham Cridland, CEO of West Sussex & Surrey Angling Academy (WSSAA), put on a charity fishing tournament in Broadfield Park in aid of the hospital on Friday (May 6).
About 50 people, including Ken’s wife Sue, Crawley MP Henry Smith, firefighters, police colleagues went to the fundraiser.
The ‘PCSO Ken Oldershaw Memorial Angling Trophy’ - which features a large fish, rod and flask which Ken always had with him when fishing, was awarded to a police team.
Graham cried after a police bagpiper played a lament and a minute’s silence was held.
“It was absolutely incredible,” said Graham.
“Even now when I play it back to people to show how it started it gets me.
“The bagpipes don’t nomally affect me but when it came after the minute’s silence to talk to everyone I choked up.”
He said Ken used to visit disadvantaged youngsters who took angling courses with the WSSAA.
Graham, 61, of Gossops Green, said: “He saw an opportunity to use his position as PCSO to build bridges between the police and the young people.
“It was quite funny because when he would first turn up in this big CCTV van everybody would cower and say, ‘What have we done wrong?’ and he used to walk to us laughing his head off.
“Then it got to a point when they said, ‘Is Ken coming today?’ - that was when we knew the work that Ken was trying to do was working.”
Graham said he planned to run the memorial tournament every year.
Sussex Police Chief Constable Giles York is a WSSAA patron. Hundreds of people attended Ken’s funera at Surrey and Sussex Crematorium in 2014. Colleagues formed a guard of honour in tribute.