Local Face: Peter Stride

  |  Published: Jun 1st 1996

Peter Stride joined the cub scouts in Northwood, Middlesex, aged 8 years. He left school at 15 and when the family moved to Buckland in 1963, Peter came too, transferring to the 1st Aylesbury Senior Scouts. He changed job to trainee in the Electricity Board drawing office and also joined the Territorial Army as Regimental Surveyor in the Royal Artillery.

Peter joined Bucks Constabulary in High Wycombe in January 1967 and in 1968 was posted to Wendover. At that time Wendover had a Chief Inspector (Bill Brough), three Sergeants, one detective and sixteen constables. The vehicles included a Hillman Minx, a Black Austin Cambridge soon replaced by a Morris Traveller Estate and a Triumph Tiger 90 motor cycle. In those more relaxed days, Wendover Officers were responsible for security when the PM was at Chequers.

Peter still found time to meet Erika, the Swiss au pair to Dr Campbell and his five daughters. They married in 1969 and moved to the Police House, Boddington Road. Their two sons were born in the early seventies and they moved to Manor Crescent where they still live very happily. Mark and Kevin attended John Hampden County First and Wendover Middle Schools before going on to Aylesbury Grammar. They were both members of 1st Wendover Scouts, each achieving the Queen Scout Award. At 22, Mark is about to take up a teaching post at Two Mile Ash Middle School in Milton Keynes and Kevin, 20, is studying countryside management with the National Trust.

In 1978 Peter joined 1st Wendover Scout Troop as Assistant Leader. The troop became so large it split into two becoming Jupiter and Mercury. In 1980 Peter became Scout Leader of Jupiter and during that decade many scouts achieved the Chief Scout Award and some have gone on to become present day leaders.

By 1985 Peter had been promoted to the rank of Police Inspector. He has been the Aylesbury Base Traffic Inspector (responsible for policing central Bucks, parts of Oxfordshire and the M40 from Wycombe to Oxford) for nine years. He is also in charge of the Thames Valley Police Motor-cycle Special Escort Group (motor-cyclists from Bucks, Berks, Oxon). He has arranged and led numerous VIP Escorts to TVP Area including HRH The Queen; Presidents Clinton, Chirac, Mitterand and Yeltsin.

Peter Stride is very well known to many of the young people of Wendover because since 1990 he has been Group Scout Leader responsible for the smooth running of what is now the biggest (out of 149 Groups) in Bucks with over 180 uniform members aged from 6 - 20 years and a team of24 uniform leaders. In addition to group leader Peter has been appointed "Assistant County Commissioner" responsible for promoting international scouting in Bucks.

1st Wendover is a long established Group dating back to 1914. In 1928 it won the Bucks County Trophy and was presented with a flag which is still in use today. The group was disbanded temporarily after the war years and reformed in 1950 when it met in the Parish Rooms, Shoulder of Mutton and the Old School by the Clocktower before moving to its present site in Clay Lane in 1961. The old wooden hut was replaced five years ago by a new brick building that is in use at least five evenings a week and also on school days by the Jack-in-the-Box pre-school whose leaders also have family connections with the group.

Peter finds it reassuring to know that the vast majority of young people are going about their lives having fun and doing far more exciting and challenging things than knocking over Keep Left bollards. The theme of last years' World jamboree was "The Future is Now". Peter Stride suggests that it is not all doom and gloom as some would have us believe.

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