A fond farewell to former policeman who was dedicated to the Ilkeston Royal British Legion

Malcolm Jarvis in his days a s a police officer
Malcolm Jarvis in his days a s a police officer

Friends and family of Malcolm Jarvis this week remembered the popular Royal British Legion chairman.

A well-known figure in Ilkeston and the surrounding areas, Malcolm, a former policeman, had just completed this year’s Poppy Appeal. During his life he had raised tens of thousands of pounds for charities by running in 22 marathons all over the world – often dressed as Robin Hood.

His family told of a time when he was working as a policeman at the City Ground in Nottingham and received an apology from former Derby and Forest manager Brian Clough.

Son Edward, said: “Malcolm ticked off Ole Big ‘Ead for clouting a pitch invader round the head. Never one to shirk responsibility, Malcolm admonished Clough before telling him: That’s my job.”

Malcolm, who has four children, six grandchildren and three great grandchildren, was one of five brothers. He grew up in Skipton in Yorkshire and served an apprenticeship on the railways before becoming a regular fireman for many London, Midland and Scottish Railway engine drivers, including his father.

It was while he was working here that he was to meet the love of his life and future wife Helen. Their love blossomed into one of life’s great love affairs that stood the test of time. He would often share his ‘snap’ (sandwiches) with her when he ‘fired’ the train that would take her to school.

They married and Malcolm joined the British Army where his skills as a radio operator meant he was regularly deployed with 22 Signal Regiment in Lippstadt, Germany, and Lisburn near Belfast.

But with three young children Malcolm decided to step out of khaki and into the policeman’s blue serge and joined the Nottinghamshire force at Eastwood, where he soon built up a reputation for being hard but fair.

During his time in CID he earned the rather apt nickname ‘Columbo’ because he always got his man. He was involved in the search for the ‘Black Panther’ and a serious accident at Moor Green Colliery, which reminded him of his own grandfather’s miraculous escape from a pit collapse in Wales that claimed the lives of 173 people.

Edward said: “It was as a community policeman in Stapleford where Malcolm really came into his own. His unique ability to communicate with the public, using his personality to resolve arguments and disputes, led to many commendations and the grudging respect of the town’s hooligans who admired his firm but fair approach.

“His senior officers described him as a pillar of experience and dedication.”

After retiring from the police he joined Nottingham City Council’s burglary reduction team, helping to reduce break-ins by 38 per cent before retiring again at 65. He eventually became chairman of the Ilkeston branch of the Royal British Legion, making the Poppy Appeal more successful than ever before. He proudly carried the RBL standard at the Festival of Remembrance at the Albert Hall and recently took part in the rededication of the new standard.

He had just signed off the proofs of his latest book: Railway People of Skipton, telling the story of the railway in Skipton from faded photographs and snippets of information.