Operation Zephyr aid convoy takes UK police officers to Gambia

Operation Zephyr aid convoy takes UK police officers to Gambia

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By Mike Stafford

Worcester couple Jamie and Sophie – both serving members of the police force – will be joining up with a team of 120 emergency service workers from across Europe as part of Operation Zephyr, a National Police Aid Convoys mission to deliver used but desperately needed emergency service vehicles to The Gambia.

Jamie and Sophie will be delivering an ambulance to bolster the

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poverty-stricken country’s healthcare infrastructure, with the convoy overall delivering 30 vehicles including a fire engine and even a hearse.

Travelling for up to eight days down the north-western edge of Africa, the team’s journey will not be without risk.

With no emergency breakdown coverage or hospital care on the dusty roads of African nations such as Mauritania and Western Sahara, the participants will be entirely dependent on their own mechanical and medical abilities for survival.

For them though, the cause is more than worth it.

“We travelled to The Gambia on holiday in 2019 and fell in love with the country,” Sophie said. “The welcoming nature of every Gambian we met really stayed with us… people maintain such a positive and accommodating attitude despite being an incredibly poor country.

“When we heard about Operation Zephyr we immediately signed up as we couldn’t wait to go back, and hopefully make a meaningful difference to the wonderful people of The Gambia.”

As the couple are keen to point out, UKs West Mercia Police contributes the largest number of officers to the convoy.

“[WMP] are adaptable and drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds which I suppose makes us adept at looking out for each other. I think it might be this, plus a sense of adventure, that resulted in so many people signing up.”