Profession: Retired Police Officer
I was brought up in Norfolk where I joined the police as a cadet. This led me into a 30-year career until I retired as chairman of the Norfolk Police Federation. Early in my training â€“ as someone who loved sport â€“ I was part of a four-man police team in a national running competitiion over seven mountain peaks in the Snowdon range. Although we all came from one of the flattest parts of the UK, our team won! I was grateful for a secure career with the police and the future looked bright. Outwardly all was well, but like many other colleagues in the police and emergency services, I faced intense pressures at times.
In my 20s I ran into problems in my personal life when a relationship collapsed due to my immaturity and selfish behaviour. I also felt wretched when my parents were divorced and my sadness increased when my dear grandad, Peter, found he was dying of cancer in his mid-60s. I sat with him in the early hours as his life ebbed away. But at 4 a.m. he suddenly sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed. His eyes seemed bright with renewed hope. I reached across to him â€“ then he died in my arms. I noticed there was a great sense of peace in the room and even a fragrant atmosphere that puzzled me. I didnâ€™t know then that my grandad had a life-long faith in God. I found out later that he had told my mother: â€œDonâ€™t worry, Eileen, the Shepherd has come to see me.â€ Peterâ€™s death made me think deeply about God. I wasnâ€™t a churchgoer, but one night I tried to pray the Lordâ€™s Prayer â€“though I couldnâ€™t remember the middle bit. I called out in the darkness: â€œGod, if you are real, you need to show me!â€ Yet I seemed to be beyond Godâ€™s reach. My personal life was a mess and I was looking for hope and a way out. Later, I talked with a Christian lady friend, who had some answers I had never heard of. Very simply she explained who Jesus is. The Bible, she said, made it clear that it was possible for anyone, even me, to know Jesus as a living, personal Saviour who could change lives. A tremendous urgency gripped me as I said: â€œI need to know Him â€“ now!â€ So she prayed a simple prayer and I followed the words, line by line. acknowledged that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and that He died on the cross for me â€“ a sinner, so that I could know forgiveness and find a new life. Tears just flowed and I felt as though someone had lifted a huge burden off my back. Then a sense of lightness, peace and joy flooded my life. It was not just a passing emotion.
As I joined a local church and grew in faith, my life was radically changed. I had always wanted to help people, but now I found many unexpected opportunities to do so. Police officers sometimes have to bring tragic news to relatives. In 1988, I had to visit the home of a widowed mother whose young son had been killed that day in a major accident on the A11, following a crash between a Securicor van and an articulated lorry. When this heartbroken lady told me she was a churchgoer, I mentioned that I, too, was a Christian. She asked me to pray for her. Some months later, I was back in her area, so I popped in to say hello. â€œYou know, Iâ€™ve been going to church for 30 years,â€ she admitted, â€œbut I realise I donâ€™t know Jesus Christ the way you do. You speak of him as a friend.â€ As we sat at her table I led her in a simple prayer of commitment to Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour. I noticed that the change in her life was instant â€“ she seemed no longer grief-stricken, but peaceful. A year later, a colleague phoned me and said: â€œBuy the evening paper.â€ There, on the front page, was another tragic story: â€˜Dinner lady killed in freak accident.â€™ A car had skidded on ice as she cycled nearby, and she was killed instantly. It was shocking news, but an inner voice said: â€œMalcolm, she is with Me.â€ During my police career, I helped to start a Christian police fellowship. I also became a full-time chairman of the countyâ€™s Police Federation, which deals with the welfare of officers and any complaints made against them. My wife, Cecile, is a graduate in world development studies and helps to promote Fair Trade products. I am now in training to serve the community in pastoral care. Itâ€™s amazing to see the way that God has brought fulfilment into our lives. Being a Christian is the best adventure anyone could experience. We love to see the way the Holy Spirit touches peopleâ€™s lives. Malcolm is an officer of the Cromer Chapter in North Norfolk and training to be a local preacher in his Methodist Circuit.