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New officer receives relative?s 100-year-old collar number

Leicestershire PC?s famous forbearer weighed 25 stone and served in Anglo-Zulu war
Published - 13/04/2021 By - Gary Mason

A student officer has received the same 83 collar number as his great-great-great grandfather who became one of Leicestershire’s best known officers and was featured on postcards after he joined in 1908.  

PC Dan Challis joined the force in November 2020.  His great-great-great grandfather, PC John William Stephens was better known as PC ‘Tubby’ Stephens because he weighed twenty-five stone. 

Before he became a police officer, PC Tubby Stephens served in Cape Verde fighting in the Anglo-Zulu War in 1879. He was a veteran in the war over-seas and received a campaign medal for his service which Dan had with him on the day he was sworn into duty.

Tubby became a public figure in Leicester City Centre whilst patrolling the clock tower. He was seen on postcards, in newspapers and people travelling to Leicester to watch the football would seek him out to say they’d met him. When he died, thousands of people lined the streets of Leicester for his funeral.

In 2017, the force ensured Tubby’s grave was marked through funding from the Leicestershire Police Federation (LPF) Trust after hearing he had been buried at Welford Road Cemetery in an unmarked grave.

After working in IT for six years, PC Dan Challis decided to follow in his footsteps and become a police officer.  He said: “It’s a real honour to be given the collar number 83 worn by PC John ‘Tubby’ Stephens. I have some big boots to fill but I hope I can carry on his legacy.”

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