Lands End to Chichester bike ride will help paralysed police officer to access his garden

Friends and colleagues of a paralysed Chichester police officer are set to embark on a mammoth cycle ride to raise vital funds.

Father-of-three PC Darren Triggs, 38, spent more than a decade serving local communities before a blood clot in his spine changed his life forever just before Christmas in 2019.

His wife Rosie was eight months pregnant at the time and a campaign was set up to get Darren moved from Southampton Hospital to St Richard's, so that Darren could witness the birth of his third child.

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Darren is paralysed from the chest downand will never be able to walk again but, nearly two years on, he is back to his adapted home and has started working again, in an office-based role.

Darren Triggs' colleagues are set to cycle from Lands End to Chichester Police Station. Photo: Arun Police

However, he is still unable to freely access his back garden.

"Last year, with people’s generous support, we installed a lift and after 13 months away I was able to go back home," Darren said.

"This has meant the world to me as, I can now go upstairs to read my children a bedtime story and kiss them goodnight.

"One thing I haven’t been able to do, however, is play with the children independently in the garden.

"Our garden has different levels and isn’t wheelchair friendly.

"The idea is to make the ground level so I can come out independently and play with the kids or catch them when they run off round the corner."

Fellow police officer, Ian Luxford, stepped in to make Darren's dream come true.

Along with five other police colleagues, Ian is cycling from Lands End to Chichester Police Station.

They had initially planned to cycle from London to Paris in 2020 but these plans were curtailed by Covid.

Ahead of the challenge, which begins on Friday (September 10), Ian said: "All six of us are colleagues of Darren, in one way or another. We've all worked with him over the years.

"He's been amazing. You never know what it would be like if it happened to you but he hasn't really changed.

"He still makes jokes. It's still him but just sitting in a wheelchair.

"How he has taken and dealt with it all is an inspiration to all of us, really. Especially with what's happened over the last 18 months."

Darren said he was left 'really overwhelmed' when he was was told about the bike ride to help with the garden adaptions.

He added: "It’s difficult to accept that all the effort going into training and planning is for me and I’m truly grateful.

"I'm going to be following it closely. I'll be there at the finishing line to cheer them home.

"I can't believe that they are doing such a monumental task. I'm in awe that they could even do it."

'I'm enjoying the challenge'

Since arriving back home, Darren has had to re-learn many daily tasks that we all take for granted.

"Everything has to be done in a slightly different way and it's about learning the best way," he said. "I'm still trying to push myself to do things I haven't done before.

"I'm still trying new things and pushing myself with new challenges. I'm back driving in an adapted car."

Darren added that his employers, Sussex Police, have been 'amazing' with their support in his phased return to work.

He said: "I've really enjoyed getting back into the swing of things. I've been doing some interesting work at the moment. I'm not on response anymore but there's plenty of things to do that are more office based.

"It is difficult [not working out on the field] as that's what I loved and what I joined the job for but there are avenues that I'm sure will be just as rewarding."

Darren also praised his wife who, after giving birth just before the first lockdown, had to look after a newborn and their two young daughters on her own — whilst Darren was in hospital.

"She's been incredible," Darren said. "I am really grateful to her for keeping things going.

"It's much better now that I'm home.

"After such a long time, it's been great to get back home and back to work.

"I'm enjoying the challenge and really looking forward to the ride."