IT WAS an early start for a contingent of police officers taking part in the fundraising walk for fallen Tamworth policeman David Rixon yesterday.
The group will spend the next six days walking the 370km from Tuggerah to Tamworth.
Eighteen officers have dedicated themselves to going the full distance to raise funds for Police Legacy and the trust set up in the wake of the highway patrolman who was gunned down in a West Tamworth street on March 2 last year.
The journey will cross the boundaries of six local area police commands including Lake Macquarie, North Region HQ, Newcastle City, Port Stephens, Central Hunter and the Hunter Valley.
Along the way the core group will be joined by officers from the other commands.
Among the Tamworth crew yesterday was crime manager and inspector Phil O’Reilly who had completed about 60km by 6pm and was only an hour from the overnight stop at Newcastle.
“I’m a bit tired but we’re only about six kilometres from Newcastle,” Inspector O’Reilly said then.
“It’s been a tremendous team effort from the Oxley crew. There’s been some determination shown and sacrifice but it’s nothing to compare with the sacrifice by Dave Rixon.”
Mr O’Reilly is walking in relay with others and although he describes himself as “just a casual walker” he’d undertaken some more serious training beforehand.
The walkers set out for Maitland 33km away this morning and Mr O’Reilly expects to make nightfall at Singleton 80km up the New England highway.
Earlier yesterday the group completed about 38km by lunchtime, some already suffering some blisters and sore legs when they stopped at Swansea.
Tuggerah Lakes Local Area Commander and dedicated walker Detective Superintendent David Swilks said the event represented the level of support police have for each other and for all our families.
“The NSW Police Force is like one big family and when we lose one of our own, we all grieve alongside the officer’s family,” he said.
“We wanted to honour Senior Constable Rixon by raising funds for his family and also raise funds in his honour for families like his, so they know they will never be forgotten or in need.”
Walkers will be greeted in Tamworth by colleagues and friends of Senior Constable Rixon at an official ceremony at 11am on Saturday March 2, the first anniversary of his death.
More than 90 police, across all ranks, are expected to join the final leg from Quirindi to Tamworth.