Remembering Pc Cheryl Lloyd – 15 years after road crash tragedy
Standing 5ft 2in tall in size three boots, Pc Cheryl Lloyd was perhaps an unlikely candidate for the police service.
But whether breaking down the door of a drugs den or chasing down a suspect through a hedgerow, Pc Lloyd continually surpassed expectations for the job she loved.
Tragically, 15 years ago, she was killed in a car accident in West End Road, Ipswich, while responding to a 999 call.
The most recent of 28 Suffolk officers to die on duty, her memory lives on through the annual Cheryl Lloyd Award for excellence in staff training and development, and through the extraordinary work of her sister, Sue Brace, who was made an MBE in 2011 for her work with COPS (Care of Police Survivors).
Pc Lloyd, of Ipswich, died instantly when the marked police car she was driving span out of control and collided with a stationary lorry on a bend in West End Road on June 18, 2005.
The police-trained advanced driver had been responding to an emergency call and was within 10 seconds of being stood down as assistance was no longer required.
Her partner that day, Pc Chris Neale, later returned to work after sustaining serious head injuries in the crash.
The Senior Coroner for Suffolk at the time, Dr Peter Dean, said the inquest into her death heard “nothing but praise” for Pc Lloyd.
Memorials to the 42-year-old and another officer, Det Con Clive Barratt, fatally injured in a motorcycle accident while on duty at Lowestoft in July 1999, remain at the entrance to Martlesham police headquarters.
At her funeral, letters were read out from two young offenders who had been arrested by Pc Lloyd and were saddened by her death but pledged to stay on the straight and narrow.
On the 15th anniversary of the accident, Pc Lloyd’s sister said: “Even 15 years on, it still feels like yesterday. Every year, I go over the same scenario of what we were doing that Saturday – right up to getting that phone call. Every year, it’s like re-enacting that weekend all over again.
“Cheryl was 5ft 2in and wore size three shoes. I never thought she’d make it. But her life was about giving back to the community.
“She was the first to volunteer for anything. If there was a drugs bust, she’d be at the front with the battering ram.
“We had a conversation a couple of weeks before she died, after she’d chased a chap through a hedge and had scratches from all the brambles, and I asked why she couldn’t do something safer. She told me she just loved the job and keeping the community safe.”
Following her sister’s death, Mrs Brace, of Felixstowe, was contacted by COPS – a charity which helps the families of officers who die in the line of duty.
After raising money for the cause, she was accompanied by Suffolk Police Federation to present a cheque for an annual memorial event honouring officers killed in the line of duty.
That evening, she was invited to become the charity’s fundraising manager and would later serve as president for four years before standing down to look after her mother, who sadly passed away last year.
“Those four years were very hard going at times,” she said.
“When there was a death on duty, the first thing I did was write to the family.
“I spent a lot of time on the road, and after four years, I felt I’d given back for everything we’d received, and that it was time to look after my mum.”
On the anniversary of Pc Lloyd’s death, Chief Constable Steve Jupp said: “Today will be a poignant and difficult day for Cheryl’s family and friends and our thoughts are with them.
“When police lose an officer whilst on duty it has a huge impact on the organisation as a whole and especially those who have worked closely with the officer and those who knew her.
“As a policing family we also never forget, and her legacy in the force is remembered annually and fondly at the force annual awards through the Cheryl Lloyd Award, presented to the practitioner or team that has excelled in the field of staff training and development.”
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