The murder of Custody Sergeant Matt Ratana in Croydon as he was booking a handcuffed prisoner into custody event shocked the nation and left the Metropolitan Police community particularly shaken. As I moonlight as a part-time police officer in my non-lawyering time, I feel very much a part of that community and Matt’s death affected me a lot. I remember the very first time I had to take a suspect into custody and complete my first ‘constant watch’ outside a cell monitoring the safety of the inmate – I was apprehensive and a little intimidated, even more so as I came across rugby player Matt’s towering presence behind the custody desk. I quickly learned that appearances can be deceiving – Matt put me completely at ease and went out of his way to give me a great start to my policing career, even going so far as to bring me regular coffees and career tips over what was to become a very long night. I was gobsmacked – an officer of Matt’s rank going out of his way and showing such kindness to a newbie. From what the public has learned about Matt after his death, this was testament to his lifelong character – an enormous personality with such passion for mentoring people and contributing to his communities, particularly through rugby.

Matt’s colleagues have set up the Matt Ratana Rugby Foundation in his honour and to continue the great work he cared so deeply about during his life. Details of the Foundation can be found here: https://mattratanarugby.foundation/ . This April, Matt’s colleagues have set themselves and others a challenge to run/walk/cycle 10 kilometres during the month of April to raise money for Matt’s Foundation. I decided to join them. Remembering Matt’s voice of encouragement and wanting to thank him in my own way for the support he showed me, I decided to challenge myself and see if I could run 100 kilometres in April to raise funds for the Foundation. I am delighted to say that, with three days of the month to go and several worn pairs of trainers later, I am just 5 kilometres off my goal and will complete my final run before Friday.

I would very much appreciate any support in reaching my fundraising goal.

Ceri McGraa