Retired policeman publishes moving memoir

Gazette Series: Retired policeman publishes moving memoir Retired policeman publishes moving memoir

A RETIRED policeman in Thornbury has written a humorous and moving memoir documenting his life in Gloucestershire.

My Life, From War Time to Spare Time - a Local History charts Clive Washbourne’s experiences in the police force, as a family man and organising youth clubs across the area.

Mr Washbourne, 71, took early retirement in 1997 due to ill health, and has been making notes on his life ever since. He initially decided to write his life story for his daughters, Caroline, 44, and Vivienne, 42.

"I put all the experiences on my computer, simply for the benefit of my children," he said. "That’s what started it, basically as a family history."

But he then realised it might be of interest to other people.

He explained: "I did a lot of voluntary work in the community, so a lot of people know me. I thought I might as well put it in a book."

It’s taken Mr Washbourne two years to find someone who could bind the book for him without major outlays. Fifty copies have now been printed with the option for more.

Through his very personal history, Mr Washbourne brings to life the past seven decades of South Gloucestershire life.

Born and brought up in Severn Beach, he had his first employment on the railways at Avonmouth before working for the British Transport Police and joining Gloucestershire Constabulary in 1961.

Working across the county, he settled in Thornbury with his wife Rosemary in April 1965. And he’s been an extremely active member of the community, spending seven years as a beat officer in the town and 19 years as treasurer of the Thornbury Youth Centre.

He loved his policing work but thinks the police service isn't what it was.

"Policemen would always come to the public for information. Nowadays they expect people to come to the police," he said.

"Police should know the communities well enough to know where to go for information."

He has witnessed policing change dramatically in the area during his life. The closed Thornbury Police Station went up for sale earlier this year.

My Life is available at the High Street Bookshop in Thornbury and the Thornbury Museum, priced at £7.99.

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