A kind-hearted sergeant and former semi-professional rugby player who has raised over £50k for charities is continuing his efforts to fundraise for a charity in Oldham alongside his role as a response sergeant at GMP.
Sergeant Damieon Hartley-Pickles, originally from Yorkshire, joined GMP as a PC in 2002 and spent 19 and a half years based in the Oldham neighbourhood team before being temporarily promoted to a response sergeant in Rochdale where he is currently based.
Alongside his former role on the beat in Oldham, Damieon has travelled the world as both a police rugby league player and charity marathon runner - raising sums of cash over the years for charities close to his heart.
Damieon playing for Huddersfield Giants rugby league back in the 90s
He said: "I played semi-professional rugby league until the age of 30 which is when I decided to join the police for a more secure and exciting job.
"Once I finished playing rugby, I knew I always wanted to do something for local charities too. I'm from Yorkshire originally but having worked in Oldham for a lot of years, I could see some of the poverty in the district and thought it'd be beneficial to work with the youth of today.
"Oldham is really heavy on my heartstrings because I'd worked there for so long and with so many young people. A lot of the charity work I've done has been for Mahdlo Youth Zone, which provides opportunities to young people across Oldham and the surrounding areas delivering life skills and offering chances that wouldn't normally be available.
"I still intend to and will always offer my services to Oldham and the district and am always available for anyone who wants to make a change in the lives of the youth of today."
Damieon 'braving the shave' as part of some of his vast charity work
Damieon - known as 'BarrowthonMan' after a series of long-distance runs for charity with his wheelbarrow - has raised over £50k for charities over the years through various fundraising events including: 24-hour five-a-side football marathons, a 13-hour seven-a-side touch rugby match, an Everest Base Camp climb which raised £15k and over 60 10ks, half marathons and marathons both in the UK and beyond.
'BarrowthonMan' at the Great Manchester Run 2019
His first marathon in 2008 - the London Marathon - saw the 50-year-old complete it in a police helmet. Unbeknown to him, this would mark the start of many more long-distance runs.
He added: "I needed a reason to keep on running a few years ago so I thought - what can I do that no one else does? And that's when I decided I'd run with a wheelbarrow which I've decorated with police stickers and a siren and offers people the choice to donate by throwing any cash into the wheelbarrow for charity.
"Throughout lockdown when I couldn't do the usual running marathons and charity fundraisers, my wife bought me a wood turning machine so I spent a lot of time at home turning scraps of wood into bowls cheese boards and fancy wooden plates to sell on for charity."
Damieon at Everest base camp as part of another fundraising venture
Damieon also ran around his back garden over 4,800 times with his wheelbarrow during lockdown to complete a half marathon raising funds for the NHS and Mahdlo when all races were cancelled.
He added: "It's good to go above and beyond, not a lot of people do it. I'm a big believer in doing it now and not waiting - life's too short.
"I've got many people to thank who have helped me raise much-needed funds for local communities - especially my good friend and colleague Chief Inspector Danny Atherton, also from Rochdale, who has often been alongside me during some of my many charity challenges.
"Now lockdown is over, my next major challenge will be trekking the Annapurna Trail in Nepal across the Himalayan Mountains in September 2022."
Damieon and a colleague at the Great Manchester Run 2019