Cure for rare child cancer is driving Claire

HAPPY TO HELP: Claire Napper.
HAPPY TO HELP: Claire Napper.

Standing alongside 80 other police officers in full-uniform at the start of the New York half-marathon, Claire Napper did not feel out of place.

The Sudbury special constable knew she was part of something bigger and it was easy to forget about the puzzled looks from New Yorkers and tourists as she made her way around the eight laps of Central Park.

Besides, the 29-year-old, from Percy Ruse Close in Great Cornard, has completed the 13-and-a-half-mile route each year for the last five years.

She does it to raise money towards treatment for a rare form of children’s cancer known as neuroblastoma, which claimed the life Jack Brown, seven, the son of two Metropolitan police officers.

“It is an amazing feeling standing there in full-uniform in Central Park,” said Claire, who returned from New York last week.

“The park is not closed so there are still lots of people milling around and they are constantly coming up to you to ask what you are doing.”

As well as finishing the half-marathon while in America at the end of May, Claire also took part in a plane pull challenge at John F Kennedy airport.

This is another of the annual events undertaken in aid of Jack’s Pack – Police Against Cancer in Kids – the charity set up by Yvonne and Richard Brown after the death of their son in 2009.

It pays for children with neuroblastoma to travel to New York for specialist treatment which is not available in the UK. Although Jack did this, the treatment was not able to save his life.

“I first started doing the trip five years ago when I was a town pastor and it was that which made me want to become a special,” said Claire, who has been a special at Sudbury Police since 2011.

“Being there and running with the NYPD made me proud to be British.”

Back on home soil, the fundraising has not come to a stop as Claire is holding a police-themed fete for the charity at Kentwell Hall in Long Melford tomorrow, from 4pm to 10pm.

“I am hoping to raise around £1,000 with the first part focusing on games and activities for the children and then a barbecue and a band in the evening,” she said. “It will be family friendly.”

Entry is £2 for adults and £1 for children.