THE Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police has praised a Rhayader teenager who completed a 10K race around the Elan Valley in a superb time last weekend, in memory of his policeman father.

Theo Earp, 16, lost his dad Gareth last year, after he was involved in a car accident while returning home from work.

Gareth Earp, 43, was a highly respected officer with the Dyfed Powys Police force and a beloved figure in his hometown community of Rhayader.

He died at the scene of a two-vehicle road traffic collision on the A470 between Rhayader and Llangurig on June 29 last year as he was returning home from work.

His family, including wife Tamsin and middle son Theo, as well as brothers Ethan and Joel, have received fantastic support from the Care of Police Survivors (COPS) charity – which prompted Theo to want to give a little back.

He entered the 10k event at the popular Rhayader Round the Lakes race last Saturday, March 2, completing the race in an excellent time of 47 minutes 23 seconds, which saw him earn a top-25 finish.

“Many congratulations to Theo on running the Rhayader 10km in memory of his dad, Gareth Earp,” said Dr Richard Lewis, Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys Police, posting a picture of himself with Theo, accompanying a tweet.

“We’re all incredibly proud of him and the family. They will always be a part of our wider Dyfed Powys family and we will always be there for them.”

Mum Tamsin set up a Just Giving fundraising page for Theo ahead of the event which has so far raised a whopping £4,293. With gift aid that total will rocket past £5,000.

Many local businesses and organisations in and around Rhayader rallied round Theo and donated to the cause or put events on helping the apprentice carpenter up is target.


“COPS have helped us out so much during a tough time, so it’s just to give back to them,” Theo said, speaking to the County Times in the build-up to Round the Lakes.

“Other families involved in policing have gone through the same thing as us, so that’s why I wanted to do something for them.

“The original target was £500 but we’ve flown past that. It’s something I’d like to do as an annual event.”

The Rhayader Round the Lakes Race offers runners distances of 10 and 30 kilometres, which both begin and finish at Rhayader Rugby Club.

The 30k race runs through the picturesque countryside of the Elan Valley, over one of the most scenic courses in the UK. The route is challenging and exposed to the weather, especially on the higher parts of the route – runners taking on the longer distance battled a blizzard on the race’s highest point at the weekend.

The 10k route takes you out to the Elan Valley and back to the town.

County Times:  Theo and his father Gareth. Theo and his father Gareth. (Image: Earp family)

Mum Tamsin said Theo actually wanted to take on the gruelling 30k (over 18 miles) race but settled on the 10k because you have to be 18 to run the longer event.

“He just wanted to do something for his dad,” said Tamsin.

“COPS have been really good to us. After Gareth’s funeral we got invited to an event, they gave the kids counselling and also paid for the kids’ driving lessons, so we wanted to give something back.

“The support has been amazing and really speaks volumes about living in tiny, rural communities.”

Since its foundation in 2003, COPS has helped hundreds of police families devastated by the loss of a loved one while on duty.

You can still donate to Theo’s cause, just visit