Mother’s Day: Notts road safety cop talks about losing her mum
A former detective who was honoured by the Queen has today talked candidly about losing her mum at 17 and reflects on her dedication to roads policing on Mother's Day.
Heidi Duffy MBE, who now works as a traffic management officer for Nottinghamshire Police, experienced the tragic loss of her mum to cancer in 1977.
She said: "Mum was diagnosed with cancer in early December and died three weeks later on 29 December.
"My parents were separated so I was effectively on my own from then on.
"Her birthday is March 21 which is usually Mother’s Day and can be hard, but this year it’s a week early so both events don’t collide, thankfully."
Heidi went on to join the force a year after her mum's death as a response officer in the Broxtowe and Hyson Green areas before meeting her now husband, a retired firearms commander.
She left the force in 1985 to have children in the days when there were no part-time opportunities and was blessed with two boys who are both now serving officers for North Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire Police.
Heidi then fulfilled various road safety roles elsewhere before coming back to the force in 2001 as traffic management officer then road casualty reduction manager.
She said she has always been drawn to road safety: "I think it's because I've done the knock on the door to tell someone that sadly due to a road traffic accident, their loved one isn't coming home and seeing their life fall apart... so if we can prevent one person being killed on the roads then it's worth all of the effort."
Heidi also works with various charities and organisations such as Think, Brake, Shiny Side Up and the National Young Riders Forum.
In 2015 she was an awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for her services to road safety.
Heidi retired from the force in 2017 and came back as a volunteer for the serious collision investigation unit a week later. She completed more than 1,000 hours of volunteering before being appointed by the force in her current role.
"I realised after mum passed that it was a ‘sink or swim’ moment for me and I needed to use my life experience, although at that point it was short and not very happy, in a positive way to help others,” Heidi added.
"The years have whizzed by and that it is an ethos I have held dear, looking back is a wasted moment when you can look forward to see what exciting challenges are heading your way!
"Hopefully Mother’s Day for many will be a lovely day where you can celebrate being a Mum and loving your own Mum.
"Mother’s Day for others, particularly after Covid took so many people, will mean perhaps their first Mother’s day without their Mum and I remember that as being very hard.
"However, I still cherish the time and I had with mine and I hope she would be proud of me, I will raise a glass of bubbles to her today!"
Detective Inspector Clare Gibson, of Nottinghamshire's roads policing unit, said: "Heidi is such an asset to the force. She has proven time and time again her dedication to roads policing.”
You can watch Heidi’s video here.