All year round I raise money for a number of charities I support, through donating my fees from events I do, and occasionally auctioning names in my books on behalf of the charities.

I was delighted to present this cheque to Chief Superintendent Di Roskilly, Commander of East Sussex Police and Chair of the Sussex Police Charitable Trust, this morning.

Sussex Police have always been enormously supportive to me, and I try every year to give something back to them, in any way I can. Our police do an extraordinary and often difficult job, and I believe they are a major part of the glue that holds civilised life together. We need them more than ever in the difficult times our world is facing. Almost every police officer I have ever met has told me at some point in his or her career, their life has been on the line. They are not highly paid and they are not superhuman, and they sometimes go through the difficult times and personal tragedies as we all do. I am very proud to have been made co-patron, along with the Chief Constable of this wonderful organisation, the Sussex Police Charitable Trust, which does incredible work for our local police. To give you a few examples:

A young police officer’s four-year old son was suffering from cancer. He had to be taken up to the Royal Marsden for treatment several days every week. The trust helped with the family’s travel costs.

A police officer on holiday with his family dived into a brand new swimming pool at their hotel. Due to an error the depth markings had been reversed and he dived into the shallow end, breaking his neck and becoming a paraplegic. The Trust bought him a £4,500 motorised wheelchair to help his mobility.

The son of a police officer who’s father died when the boy was only 5, did very well in his GCSEs and was offered a place on an engineering course run in conjunction with the Space Centre in Loughborough. But his mother, on a widow’s pension, couldn’t afford for him to go. The charity supported her to fund the fees to enable the talented 16-year old to take up the offer.

The charity owns a property in Dorset where people can go with their partners or families when they need to get away to recuperate. For example, one of the people who dealt with the aftermath of the terrible Shoreham air crash in 2015, when 11 people died – and over 850 separate body parts were recovered – was deeply traumatised and was having problems with sleeping and being short-tempered. As well as ensuring the officer was getting all the available help they could, the charity gave the family a chance to get away and stay at the property to aid the recuperation.