A group of Merseyside Police officers who set up a charity to raise money for the hospital which cared for a colleague’s daughter have done it again!

The Sefton bobbies formed ‘Team Phoebe’ to support cystic fibrosis at Ormskirk general hospital after Martin Duddy’s daughter, Phoebe, was born with the condition four years ago.

But since then, their registered charity ‘Phoebe’s Fund’ has raised money for countless other good causes across Merseyside and last week they presented a cheque for £1,200 to nurses from Liverpool Community Health Trust.

The team raised the money by holding a charity race night at Crosby Comrades Club and it will be used to buy a morphine syringe pump for Macmillan nurses to administer pain relief to cancer patients being cared for at home or in hospices.

The charitable cause was chosen by Kelly Coulton, whose husband Steve, a serving Sefton police officer, died from cancer last year.

Kelly said: “I would like to thank everyone involved in the fundraising for the money to buy the syringe pump. The symptoms of bone cancer can vary greatly but include persistent bone pain that gets worse over time and continues into the night with swelling, redness and a noticeable lump. I want to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bone cancer to young people, who might not think they can get it, because the earlier a cancer is picked up, the easier it is to treat it and treat it successfully. It is important that people go their doctor as soon as possible if they notice worrying symptoms.”

‘Team Phoebe’, as the group of police officers and support staff have called themselves, have previous raised money for the stroke unit at Aintree University Hospital in Fazakerley, a disabled child in Kirkby whose i-pad was stolen in a burglary, and to help the family of another colleague who died suddenly of a heart attack.

Chief Inspector Simon Thompson from Sefton command team, said: “We set the charity up originally to help the hospital that gives such great care to Martin’s little girl Phoebe. But when we got talking we realised that there were so many good causes that between us we had been touched by in some way. So we widened it out and started raising money in Phoebe’s name for anyone who needed it.

“The stroke unit at Fazakerley is one that is close to my heart and Steve Coulton was a very dear friend and colleague to many of us. When Kelly asked the team to raise money for a morphine syringe to help relieve the pain for terminally ill cancer patients we were only too happy to help.

“Word has spread about what we do and we’ve had great support from throughout the force and the other services we work with in terms of people coming along to fundraising events. It has really shown the community spirit within this police force and the NHS.”

Sefton area commander, Chief Superintendent Claire Richards, added: “It is testament to this group of Sefton officers that as well as doing busy, difficult jobs they still make time to raise money for people less fortunate than them.

“The charity events they have organised over the years have been very well supported by colleagues within Merseyside Police and I am looking forward to supporting the next good cause Phoebe’s fund chooses.”

Syringe drivers are small, battery-operated portable pumps which deliver a steady flow of injected medication under the skin in a steady, reliable way to control pain.

Claire Johnston, community Macmillan nurse and Kirsten Collins, the district nurse who helped care for Steve towards the end of his life accepted the cheque from Phoebe’s Fund on behalf of Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust. They said: “We are so grateful to Team Phoebe for raising this money. The syringe driver is a vital piece of equipment that will help improve the quality of life for our patients nearing the end of life.”

Police Constable Martin Duddy, who continues to raise money while he and his wife care for 4-year-old Phoebe, added: “Since day one when Phoebe was born Ormskirk hospital have been second to none in their support and care. Without their help and that of my colleagues and bosses within the police I don’t think I would have been able to cope.

“Phoebe is on lots of medication every single day and my wife has had to give up her own job as a nurse to care for her. But we can’t wrap her up in cotton wool and she’s got to be allowed to be a normal little girl. She certainly rules the roost in our house and it is humbling that so much fundraising by people willing to go above and beyond is being done in her name.”

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