A police officer is set to run the AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run in honour of a schoolboy whose death shocked the nation.
Jess Davies hopes to help keep Arthur Labinjo-Hughes’ memory alive and prevent more children from suffering, by taking part in the half marathon on Sunday, 7 May. Six-year-old Arthur was killed by his step-mother Emma Tustin and father Thomas Hughes at his home in Cranmore Road in Shirley, Solihull in 2020.
Jess was so moved by Arthur’s death that she decided to take part in the AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run to raise money for Arthur’s Angels – a charitable trust which is the idea of Arthur’s cousin, Bernie Dixon. It aims to raise awareness of child abuse and spread kindness by donating toys and essential items to vulnerable children in Arthur’s name.
The West Midlands Police officer is planning to wear the shirt of Arthur’s favourite football team, Birmingham City, during the run. She hopes Arthur’s fellow Birmingham City fans will show their support by wearing the club’s colours in his honour at the event. The mother-of-one explains: “I’d like to raise as much money as possible for Arthur’s Angels to help other children and keep Arthur’s memory alive. I’d love it if lots of people came to support wearing BCFC tops for Arthur!”
Jess, who has been a police officer for 18 years, is also running to raise awareness of a campaign by Arthur’s Angels for all social workers to wear bodycams during home visits. “There have been too many preventable domestic child murders,” she explains. “A change must surely be on the horizon. I want to help raise awareness for what I believe is a very strong case for social workers to be equipped with Body Worn Videos, just like the police have and for visits to be unannounced. “Anyone can make a family life seem normal when they have time to prepare for the visit.”
Since Arthur’s death the West Midlands Police officer has taken part in Government research to help protect vulnerable children. She explains: “My own personal ideas were for body worn cameras and for a social services triage car – which would involve a police officer and a social worker attending certain initial vulnerable child incidents who are on duty morning and night.”
The 42-year-old has also written a poem in honour of Arthur which now features on a memorial plaque dedicated to the schoolboy near his home.
Jess is a keen runner – she’s done the London Marathon twice and the Birmingham half-marathon twice and has started a 14-week training plan to get ready for this year’s AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run. She says: “If I can help bring some joy and happiness into the lives of children in care and vulnerable children in Arthur’s name then that’s exactly the kind of work I want to support.”
You can sponsor Jess and help her raise funds for Arthur’s Angels by visiting her fundraising page.
This year’s Great Birmingham Run takes place on Sunday, 7 May, and features a new and improved route which covers Broad Street and Centenary Square, the Jewellery Quarter and city-centre landmarks such as Grand Central and the Mailbox. To sign up, visit the event page.