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Ex-police officer is now on duty for Pier Trust

FORMER Metropolitan Police officer David McCormick can see Herne Bay pier from his home in The Broadway, so it’s perhaps no surprise he joined the Pier Trust. After 30 years policing London — and then a hectic year working in security for the 2012 Olympic Games, including making security arrangements for royals and America’s First Lady Michelle Obama — he is enjoying the quieter pace of life by the sea. But that doesn’t mean you’ll find him with pipe and slippers in his armchair. David, 54, told Liz Crudgington why he’s more likely to be roaring off into the sunset on a vintage motorcycle or studying for a university degree..

PIER PRESSURE: Former police officer David McCormick is a trustee on Herne Bay Pier Trust
PIER PRESSURE: Former police officer David McCormick is a trustee on Herne Bay Pier Trust

How did you get involved with Herne Bay Pier Trust?
I moved to Herne Bay on retiring from the police and just love the real seaside town atmosphere. As I can see the end of the old pier from my garden, I had to become involved.

What do you enjoy about it?
The enthusiasm of the volunteers and trustees is remarkable. People give up time to staff the shop and then spend most of the time just talking to people about the pier, listening to memories from visitors and answering questions about the future. Also the amazing volunteers who help out at events and work tirelessly to make thorn the success they are.

What do you find the most challenging about it?
Sometimes it seems to take forever to get something going. It would be nice to have a benefactor to allow some bigger events, without worrying about costs.

Tell me about your work with the London 2012 Olympic Games.
After I retired from the police, I was asked to come along for an interview at LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games) and I thought. why not put retirement on hold for a year? I was soon caught up in the roller coaster that was 2012. When I got there most of the venues were still building sites, we worked off plans to prepare and scope the requirements for the games. I was responsible for the security planning for the Velodrome, Basketball Arena and BMX track and then during the Games, I managed the security on site. It involved liaising with police, military and security services, as we were having lots of VIP attendees, including most of the royal family, government ministers and even Michelle Obama.

What was your highlight of the Games?
The Velodrome had an atmosphere all its own, with 6,000 or more people in an acoustically contained stadium (airtight due to even a draft affecting on track performance) all cheering for a British rider or team to another gold medal. It cannot properly be described, it needed to be experienced. During the Paralympics, it had to be the wheelchair rugby players, they were throwing themselves around, crashing into each other, and one player said, “Where else can you knock someone out of a wheelchair for sport?”

And you worked for the Metropolitan Police?
I served for 30 years in some really interesting boroughs, including Peckham, Hackney and Greenwich. Policing involves numerous skills and can Involve very intimate moments in people’s lives to bringing the bad guys in. I recall In the mid-i 980s on a night shift spending time with an elderly lady whose husband had just passed away in hospital and within five minutes of leaving her front door, chasing a stolen MGB along the Old Kent Road, which resulted in the driver crashing into the railing of Peckham Library. At Hackney it was a case of when someone called 999 and asked for the police, they needed the police, it wasn’t just kids being a nuisance outside or a noisy party. The best memories are from working with some real characters, both in the force and in the community, but the best ones are not for publishing.

Herne Bay must seem rather tame compared with your working life.
Moving here has allowed me to enjoy retirement. I had a hectic year commuting up to Canary Wharf and then Stratford, for the Games and now I can get up arid take the dog out along the seafront or ride over to Whitstable and enjoy the fact I live somewhere quieter. I have no complaints about living a tamer existence.

What are your hobbles and interests?
I enjoy travel and have owned and ridden motorbikes since I was 16. In the summer I combined both and flew to America, where I bought a 43-year-old motorbike, rode 850 miles around Texas and shipped it home. I have been restoring another old motorbike over the last year as well. I have visited a number of developing countries over the years and from that I have developed an interest which resulted in me doing an MSc in International Development through the Open University. I am on the fifth of six modules, so should be done by the end of this year. The OU allows me
the flexibility to study when it fits in with my life, although when a paper is due, I need to fully commit. I also occasionally help out with some set building at the Home Bay Little Theatre, a group of older men cutting things up, screwing things together, taking things apart and somehow it all ends up as a set for the play.

Tell me about your family.
I have a 30-year-old son living in Northern Ireland and a 26-year-old daughter who lives in Gillingham with her husband and two beautiful sons, who provide great joy, and great relief when they go and peace is restored in the household. I live with my partner Sandy and Barnaby our challenging Beagle cross. We go to Canada at least once a year to visit her family, who are spread over British Columbia.

What do you like about Herne Bay?
Herne Bay is unpretentious, what you see is what you get. The promenade is great and the fact you can cycle or walk from Whitstable to Birchington, without touching a road with the sea shore as your companion the whole way, is wonderful. There are enough local shops to provide for all our basic needs but the large supermarkets or Canterbury are only a short distance away.

Anything you would change?
I would have a longer pier.

What was your first car?
Moms Minor

What was your first record?
Children Of The Revolution by T-Rex

Who are your Dream dinner party guests?
The 13th century trader and the first European to chronicle his travels to Asia; Marco Polo. He could regale us with tales of his adventures and what it was like to communicate and trade with such a strange new culture. Lev Davidovich Bronshtein (Leon Trotsky); he went from a comfortable social position to a revolutionary and could explain what it was really like in Imperial Russia and the birth of Soviet communism. Then Sandy Posnikoff, to remind me to let someone else speak, not to interrupt and not say anything too rude.

Herne Bay Times, January 30th 2014

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