Please take a few minutes to read the whole of this post and to look at all the photographs as they celebrate the life of a remarkable police officer and her generosity to the Police Treatment Centres.
I arrived as the CEO of the PTC in June 2014 and over the next couple of years we were proud to have Phil and Anne Lee who retired from Northumbria Police stay with us on a number of occasions. Anne sadly suffered from Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and all of you who are familiar with that disease, know that it is a cruel and debilitating illness, and each time we saw her it was clear that the illness was taking its toll and moving ahead relentlessly. We knew that we could not cure Anne but we felt it was important to offer what support and treatment we could to both of them. My personal view was that if we could not support both Anne and Phil during this difficult time, we might as well give up and go home as they summed up what we at the PTC were all about, and that there should always be a place for them when they wanted to come to the PTC; so this is what we did. I know I can speak for all the PTC team when I say we all felt we were much better people having met and been impressed by both Anne and Phil, and observing their courage, humility and love for one another was inspiring. Anne sadly lost her fight against MND last year, and last week much to our surprise, we learned from the Solicitor settling Anne's estate that she had bequeathed a legacy of £5000 to the PTC. When I asked permission from Phil to announce this publicly he said to me:
"When Anne and I got married we rewrote our wills and one of the first things Anne said was that she wanted to ensure the PTC would benefit in some way. The PTC and more importantly the staff made a huge difference to both our lives, and we both benefited hugely during a difficult time. The treatment, care and kindness shown to us both was appreciated massively by Anne, and is something I will never forget."
The legacy was unexpected but is of course hugely welcome. It is also typical of someone who right up until the end was still thinking of others and her fellow police colleagues, and as Phil added:
"We both believe that the PTC has an incredibly important role to play in supporting police officers and police staff, and we would both want to support you as much as we can."
One of the reasons that all of us who work at the PTC love our job so much, is we get to know, treat and support our police family patients, the best people in the world; Anne was a fine example in this respect, and leaves all of us humbled and inspired by her generosity.
Rest in Peace Anne, a truly remarkable person, and the condolences from all of us to Phil, and all of Anne's family, friends and colleagues.
Patrick Cairns - CEO PTC