A former police inspector and a primary school teacher from Horsham have joined forces to launch a new business, The Detective Project Mid Downs, offering children and adults the opportunity to try their hand at crime scene investigations through a range of exciting and fun detective-themed events

Best friends Cath Reed and Mary Wood met fourteen years ago when their children were in nursery school. Now the pair are employing their policing and teaching skills to deliver detective parties, school and educational workshops and corporate team-building days across an area stretching from Reigate to Burgess Hill and Dorking to Haywards Heath.

Their new roles see Mary sharing her expertise of scene of crime analysis and Cath using her teaching skills to encourage participants to don their SOCO suits and join in hands-on challenges, involving skeletons, finger-printing kits, crime scene materials and story boards, in the science-based events.

All of the activities are based on real investigation techniques, demonstrating how crime is investigated in the 21st century using cutting-edge forensic science theory and practice.

Cath, who has always lived in Horsham, has taught in primary schools in Crawley, Horsham and East Grinstead for 27 years, whilst raising her daughter, now 19 and son, now 17.

Mary joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1981 and worked as a police constable and community officer before being made a Sergeant in 1996 and an Inspector in 2004. Her career has included working on murder and other serious crime teams, earning her 2 medals and five commendations. It was whilst pregnant and working in police training that Mary discovered a love of imparting knowledge and making learning interesting.

Mary says: “I’m delighted with our new business, especially as I didn’t think for a minute that my extensive knowledge of murder and death was a transferable skill! It’s a dream come true to work alongside my best friend – years of doing everything together means we naturally know which of us is best at something and when to let the other one do it!

“I’ve always been fascinated by what happened, how and why. I think there is something in all of us that wants to be a detective, to solve the crime and right the wrongs.” Mary continues. “That’s the gift The Detective Project brings to children and adults – the opportunity to solve a mystery using exciting real-life techniques.

“Our skills and experience complement each other perfectly.” explains Cath. “Mary is a natural leader, loves talking and brings detecting skills to the business, whilst I specialise in teaching and presenting to children and organising and running engaging activities.

“I see the Detective Project as a unique opportunity to use my teaching skills in a new way and love the hands-on practical activities and problem-solving that’s involved.” Cath adds. “Having managed many children’s parties from princess to pirate in my time I am finding crime and detection the most exciting theme of them all.   I only wish this had been an option when I had my own children!”

Mid Downs is the latest franchised operation of The Detective Project, which was launched in 2010 by Jenny Williams, a former career detective with the Metropolitan and Avon and Somerset police forces. Jenny combined her experience and knowledge of scenes of crime methodology with her experience as a Mum to launch the event business, which now has five operations across the UK and has won several prestigious business awards.

Jenny is thrilled to have Cath and Mary on Board and says: “The Detective Project couldn’t be better suited to their passions, experience and skills. The team’s enthusiasm for engaging children and adults alike is infectious and I think the Mid Downs is set for some memorable events!”

The Detective Project Mid Downs can be contacted on 01403 610016, by email to middowns@thedetectiveproject.co.uk or more information can be found via the website: www.thedetectiveproject.co.uk

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