The ‘Tiser Interview: Mike Perry

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Whereas most 71 year olds would be putting their feet up after their retirement, Mike Perry likes to keep busy.
The president of Ilkeston Hospital League of Friends, is involved with a number of different groups and organisations, including Ilkeston Rotary Club

“I spent 37 years in the police’ said Mike. “I started in Leicester as a cadet and then worked with the British Transport Police because I’m mad on trains.

“I was made redundant and went to work as a police officer in Euston, London.

“I spent three years there and was there at the time of the Great Train Robbery.

“There is a documentary which shows a lone police officer walking up the tracks on a misty morning - that’s me.

“I was sent to the scene at 5am after it happened.

“I was tasked with the job of finding the fag butt that train driver Jack Mills had thrown from a window.”

Mike later applied for a position with Nottingham police force but was told he was too short.

He was then accepted with what was then known as Derby Borough police.

He said: “I’ve still got the Derby Borough police helmet. Years ago a police officer was killed in Derby.

“A helmet was introduced after that with a blue flashing light on the top, I was one of the first to wear one, as well as one of the first to drive a panda car out of Derby Full Street station.”

His policing career - which saw him become an inspector - also involved helping introduce CCTV to the Metropolitan Police.

He retired in 1996.

He is still involved with CCTV in the area, and as manager of a not-for-profit CCTV organisation in Heanor he has designed schemes for Ilkeston, Long Eaton, Belper and Heanor.

When he has a day off from his many commitments he enjoys a game of ten pin bowling.

Much of his time is spent visiting his 99-year-old mum in Loughborough.

He and wife Pauline have been married for 25 years .

The couple, who tragically lost their son Stephen, 18, in a road traffic accident in 1999, enjoy visiting family including three grandchildren one of which is a rocket scientist .

Mike has seen his job with the police take him all over the country but now he would not be anywhere else but Ilkeston.

He said: “People here are wonderful, the town has a wonderful community spirit.”

Explaining how he got involved with the league of friends, he said: “It was around 16 years ago when I got involved because the previous president persuaded me to go and help out at a garden party one sunny afternoon.

“It was the Rotary Club really that brought me into the League of Friends.

“That was around 1995.

“I found that I had to get them by the scruff of the neck and push them into gear.

“We started to bring things into the spotlight which is what we try to do now though I’m trying to take a back seat at the moment and hand over to Eileen Knight.”

The League is currently in discussions with the Derbyshire Community Health Services, and the Royal Derby Hospital Trust about future services.

It wants to help as much as possible by providing, from money donated by the Ilkeston communities, equipment and support to enable the hospital authorities to continue to expand services.

Said Mike: “I’m determined to make sure as many services are provided at Ilkeston as I can.”

The League is soon to announce further details of a proposed project at the hospital which will, if approved, improve both the hospital medical services and its own league services for the benefit of patients and visitors.

The group’s recent bed push event raised £1,458.