Merseyside Police has donated 35 bikes as part of the relief effort to help countries in the Caribbean hit by hurricanes.
The cycles were collected as part of the Cycles 4 the Caribbean initiative and together with hundreds of shoeboxes containing gifts and sweets for children will be delivered to the British Virgin Islands in time for Christmas as part of Operation Rudolph.
The islands were left devastated after being hit by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in August. Thousands of people were left homeless and without basics such as food and clean water.
Four police officers from Merseyside Police flew out to the islands as part of a North West contingent of police officers last month to offer their assistance and experience in helping the region get back on its feet.
In addition to the bikes in the region of 20,000 shoeboxes were collected – of which 300 came from Merseyside alone – containing small gifts, toys and treats for children whose homes and lives have been affected.
The Merseyside collection was organised by Constable Daniel Holdsworth and Sergeant Ian McPhail from Merseyside’s Safer Roads Unit with the assistance of Merseyside Property Store, Dave Riley and specialist mechanics from Liverpool charity Peloton Coop City Bikes. It was shipped with the assistance of Simon Gee on behalf of Team Rubicon UK – a disaster response veterans’ service organisation.
Gifts were also donated by Merseyside Caribbean Centre, Wirral-based Tri 4 life Triathlon club and police forces from across the UK.
The bikes and shoe boxes were shipped out over the weekend and are expected to land at the islands on 17th December.
Work will continue to send more bikes and tools to the devastated islands.
Assistant Chief Constable Julie Cooke said: "Merseyside Police is pleased to support the ongoing aid effort in the British Virgin Islands.
"Last month four officers from the Force flew out voluntarily to offer their help as the islands try to return to normality.
"To assist this effort we have also, on behalf of other police forces in the North West, collected a number of children’s bikes and staff have donated shoeboxes for the children for Christmas.
"I hope this small gesture will in some way go to help the residents of BVI as they continue to get their lives back on track."
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: "A huge amount of work has gone into collecting these bikes, tools and Christmas shoe boxes to send to families in the Caribbean whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Irma.
"This effort typifies the compassion, generosity and goodwill of the men and women of Merseyside and I applaud everyone who has rolled up their sleeves and got involved. In particular, I applaud the officers who have organised the collection and delivery of these wonderful donations. They should be really proud that through their efforts they will be making a difference to those in terrible need of help."
The Liverpool Commonwealth Association has also set up a Just Giving page to raise money to supply bicycles, tools and general building materials to help communities across the Caribbean.
For more information go to: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/cycles-4-the-caribbean