A TOP East Lancashire police officer is to take part in a charity cycle ride in memory of an officer killed in the line of duty.

Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis, from the Ribble Valley, will be getting on her bike to raise cash during the UK Police Unity Tour 2014 to remember Superintendent Gerry Richardson, who was shot at point blank range by an armed robber in 1972.

The 50-year-old will join scores of other serving and retired police officers that will set off from the National Police Memorial in The Mall in London on Friday and pedal 180 miles through six counties to the National Memorial Arbor- etum in Staffordshire, arriving in time for the Care of Police Survivors service on Sunday morning.

Irene, who lives in Chaigley and is a member of Clitheroe Bike Club, is currently seconded from Lancashire Constabulary to be president of the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales, a staff association that represents the senior operational leaders in the police.

During the ride, she will wear a wristband bearing Supt Richardson’s name which she will later hand over to his widow, Maureen.

Chief Supt Curtis said: “Whilst I wasn’t a serving officer at the time Gerry was murdered, he was not only a member of Lancashire Constabulary, but also a superintendent, which makes cycling in his memory all the more poignant for me as president of the association that represents that rank.

“As a keen cyclist, I was delighted when I heard there was to be a cycle ride in memory of fallen officers.”

Supt Richardson was posthumously awarded the George Cross for his bravery following his heroic actions.

He assisted in a car chase of a gang of five armed robbers who had attacked a jeweller’s shop in Blackpool.

As the gang split up and attempted to escape on foot, he and PC Carl Walker, who also later won the George Cross, chased one of the raiders, ‘Fat’ Fred Sewell, down a dead-end alleyway.

Sewell shot Walker in the thigh before Richardson tackled the gunman and attempted to persuade him to surrender his weapon.

However, Richardson was shot twice in the stomach at point-blank range and died of his injuries later that day. The five armed robbers were all convicted and sentenced to a combined total of 93 years in prison.

To sponsor Chief Supt Curtis, go to the website www.justgiving.com/IreneCurtis