Express & Star

Sir Rod Stewart joins wife Penny at charity event in Staffordshire

A music legend made a surprise visit to a charity's 20th anniversary celebration in Staffordshire where almost £50,000 was raised.

Penny Lancaster, COPS patron, pictured with her husband Sir Rod Stewart CBE with the donated US police car

Sir Rod Stewart CBE joined his wife, special constable Penny Lancaster, for the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) event.

It took place at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas with more than 250 people attending to raise money for the charity, which offers support for loved ones of police officers and staff who have died on duty.

Penny Lancaster pictured with Gill Marshall, president of the charity, and Sir Peter Fahy QPM, chair of trustees

Penny, who joined the City of London Police during the Covid-19 lockdown and hosted the winter ball on February 4, said: "COPS is close to my heart and I am proud and honoured to represent the charity, the work it does and it’s 20-year legacy.

"As everyone knows, officers couldn’t do their job without the support of family and the evening is about the survivors of officers and staff who have lost their lives on duty."

And an auction took place with a string of prizes on offer, including a tour of Scotland Yard's "notorious" crime museum and a five-star stay at The Berkeley in London which were both donated alongside a genuine US police car.

Sir Rod said: "Penny’s taken policing to heart and it means so much to her, even though I do become a little worried if she was late home from her duty – particularly in the early hours of the morning, because she has had to fill out paperwork, otherwise I am right behind her!"

Gill Marshall, president of the charity, became involved with the organisation following the death of her husband Alan McMurray, who was a serving officer with Lothian and Borders Police in Scotland.

She said: "I was introduced to COPS, a group of people who knew exactly what I was feeling and who had all been through a similar tragedy – they provide a judgement free, safe space to share your thoughts and feelings, a space where everyone gets it.

"It allows bereaved children to share in their experiences with others who understand the enormity of the loss, and provides a space for parents and spouses and siblings to share and remember with pride."

Guests at the arboretum were also invited to see the "avenue of trees" at the venue which are dedicated to fallen officers from each police force in the UK, and they were lit blue in aid of the event.

People who are interested in attending the 2024 winter ball on February 3 should email