Policing runs in the family for proud Lancaster father, son and grandson

A love of policing has been passed down through one Lancaster family from father to son - and now to grandson.

Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 10:49 am
Updated Wednesday, 26th February 2020, 10:50 am
From left, Jack, Simon and Mike Balderstone.

Three generations of Balderstones have now worked for Lancashire Constabulary, with retired sergeant Mike, serving detective sergeant Simon and new recruit Jack all having been based at the Lancaster station during their service.

And Jack has been given the honour of wearing his grandpa's collar number, 419, as a special touch.

Simon, who is due to retire in August after 30 years' service, said: "It's pretty unusual, and it was a very proud moment for me to see my son join and follow in my and my dad's footsteps."

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Mike, 78, began his policing career in Leigh before being transferred to Lancaster in 1966 when Simon was a baby.

Simon's brother James was born in Morecambe, and now runs his own landscaping business.

During his 30 years of service, Mike worked his way up to become a sergeant in the Lancaster division, having previously worked on uniformed patrol covering a wide area of north Lancashire.

He later moved from the crime force to task force, based at Blackpool, before moving again to the operations department.

Over the course of his career, Mike covered the Toxteth riots and the miners' dispute, as well as leading a research team following the 1984 Brighton bombing, working with army bomb disposal teams.

"It was a very enjoyable time," he said. "Of course there were some bad times but by and large I am jolly glad I did it.

"It's good that you can help people. I used to think that I had done a good job if I had helped people."

The family connections spread even further, with Mike's brother Dave also having worked in CID in Chorley.

And in 1990, Mike's son, former Carnforth High pupil Simon, also signed up to the force.

Simon, who is married to Andrea and also has a son, Matthew, and daughter, Neve, said: "I think you come to a stage in your life where you want a direction, and so I joined the police in Blackpool."

Across his career, Simon worked largely in the areas of public protection, child protection and child abuse.

He was also a member of the armed response team for four years, during which time he gave armed protection to prime ministers and royal family members during visits to the region.

"I remember my dad saying to me that you shouldn't do a job if by the end of your service you can't say you enjoyed it, and I have enjoyed it all," he said.

"It's a very difficult job and you can see some very horrible things, but you can help people too.

"The technology may have changed over the years but the job of dealing with people is still the same."

Jack, 25, was given his grandpa's collar number after Simon discovered something similar had happened in the past and contacted HQ.

And Mike said his wife Val is a "very proud" mother and grandmother.

"Obviously growing up I heard hundreds of stories about the police," said Jack, who lives in Heysham with partner Lizzie Scholes and their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter Violet.

"I had worked in insurance for three years, and I never really knew what I properly wanted to do until my daughter was born and it was like something then switched in my head.

"This was the only job where people I spoke to said they had never really had a bad day.

"I didn't want to sit in an office every day, I wanted every day to be different.

"I have been here since September and every day has been great, it's everything I have ever wanted in a job. It must be something in our blood."

Jack, who went to Queen Elizabeth School in Kirkby Lonsdale, was pleased to be handed his grandpa's collar number.

"It felt quite sentimental, and made me want to do the number proud," he said. "I think it has helped ease me in with people knowing my dad and grandpa - it means you start with an automatic extra something with people knowing your name."

Mike added: "My first reaction when I heard about the collar number was one of pride.

"When Simon joined the police I was very proud and now I am doubly so."