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Innocent OAP is locked up - but just for charity.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter mike.lockley@trinitymirror.com

PENSIONER Gillian Parkes discovered the benefits of porridge when she spent the night in police cells.

For the sprightly OAP's tenhour stretch raised vital funds for injured troops at Edgbaston's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

West Midlands Police were surprised, to put it mildly, when 71-year-old Gillian, from Streetly, asked to be locked up.

Usually, it's an experience reserved for those under arrest. But officers agreed to give the gran-of-three a bed for the night while the cell block was closed for maintenance work.

Although the overnight stay was for a good cause, Gillian wanted it to be as realistic as possible.

That's exactly what she got - she even had her mobile phone seized.

Gillian said: "I thought I'd be a little mischievous and so I hid my mobile phone in my waistband so I could keep in touch with my family, but the sergeant rumbled me."

After changing into cellblock issue clothing, Gillian got a little rest before waking to a breakfast of porridge and hot chocolate.

Gillian and Custody Sergeant Aaron Bell.

"The porridge wasn't the best I've ever tasted and the smell reminded me of the food my grandson feeds his pet guinea pig," she laughed.

Gillian added: "It was a great experience and I'd like to thank everyone who made the experience possible. I'd ask everyone who hears about my story to donate what they can to such a worthy cause."

Custody Sergeant Aaron Bell told the Birmingham Mail: "Gillian was treated in the same way as any other person visiting the cells and wasn't afforded any luxuries.

"We showed Gillian all the procedures a person goes through following their arrival at the cell block, including the details we record, the items and clothing we take from them before they are placed in a cell and the welfare and health checks that are carried out.

"I think it is the first time in my career I have dealt with someone so pleased and grateful to be locked up. I trust this is the last night Gillian will spend behind bars."

Gillian's fundraising is far from over. She plans to take on a military obstacle course for her next challenge.

To find out more about the work of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine Patient Welfare Fund visit www.rcdm.org

CAPTION(S):

Gillian and Custody Sergeant Aaron Bell.

Gillian Parkes, aged 71, wakes to a breakfast of porridge after spending a night in the cells.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 22, 2013
Words:416
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