I’ve lived in Sutton for virtually all my life (52 years, where did they all go?), am married to Linda, and have 4 children, aged from 19 down to 9. I served in the Metropolitan Police from 1985 to 2015, with my last 12 years being an Inspector at Croydon Borough. During my time I worked at Hendon Training College, where I gained my Cert Ed. and became very interested in education, continuing this through the rest of my service, developing new ways of introducing new recruits on to the streets of London.
I led my church (North Cheam Baptist) youth club for over 29 years, finally retiring last summer! Over the years I’ve seen so many young people come through our doors and it’s always been my intention to give them a taste of what God is and help them to be clear in whatever decision they make. Ultimately I would want to see all come to know my Jesus as I do, but I learnt very early on to lead them to the cross and let the Holy Spirit do the next bit. I still lead my Sunday morning youth group, and thoroughly enjoy challenging them each week in different ways to consider Jesus and inviting them to develop and deepen their relationship with Him.
I first came to know about SSW in the early 2000’s when Rosey Johnson (nee King) joined our church. She was so enthusiastic about her role as SSW primary schools worker, and so engaging with the children, that I became interested in what the charity were doing. This developed into volunteering a few times to help deliver some classroom sessions, including ‘It’s your move’ every summer at my local school, and then one day into agreeing to help out at Easter Experience. My first year I played Caiaphas, and I was blown away by how stimulated and engaged the children found the presentation. The actual performance was enjoyable enough on its own, but the bit that seemed to make the difference and give it that extra bit of bite was the time for questions at the conclusion. The following year I played Jesus and this gave me even more opportunity to tell the youngsters about my Lord and how much He means to me. Seeing that ‘wow’ moment cross a child’s face when they make that link that wasn’t there before is a very special privilege.
I considered the role a few years ago once I had retired from the Metropolitan Police, but at that time I did not feel ‘called’ to the post. This was a time of significant transition for me and it’s taken a while for me to take the opportunity to do a few other things whilst adjusting to post police life. However, when I received an email advertising the role, God moved my heart and I ‘knew’ it was the right time. My heart is to reach young people with the Good News, and then allow them to respond – I see the SSW as the ideal place to do this. So many young people don’t get a chance to hear His voice simply because there’s nobody anywhere near them to tell them. By going into their schools, we get an opportunity to do just that. With my experience and background in police, I can bring a strategic approach that may help us develop new ways of getting into the classrooms, and even the staffrooms! Maybe I can also bring a new dimension in encouraging churches to support our work.
In any case, I can’t wait to start, engage with our schools, churches and leaders, and see where this journey goes!