Police chief tracks down long-lost relative

Former St Helens Police chief Ernest Robinson is presented with a panoramic photograph of the force in 1964 by area commander Rob Carden left and chief inspector Shaun Holland right
Former St Helens Police chief Ernest Robinson is presented with a panoramic photograph of the force in 1964 by area commander Rob Carden left and chief inspector Shaun Holland right
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A FORMER St Helens police chief tracked down a long-long relative - and was stunned to discover that he was also a bobby in the town.

Chf Insp Shaun Holland, St Helens police’s chief inspector from 2007 to 2009, got in touch with distant cousin Ernest Robinson, 86, while researching his extensive family tree.

But he was shocked to learn that Mr Robinson not only worked as police officer in St Helens for 31 years, but still has two 1960s group photographs of the entire local police force of the day.

Mr Robinson, who grew up in Sutton Manor, was only present on the 1964 snapshot though, as was seriously injured tackling two burglars shortly before a follow-up photo in 1969.

Chf Insp Holland, who is now based at St Anne Street in Liverpool, said: “I’ve been researching my family tree for about 20 years and I’m up to about 900 relatives now.

“Via a cousin of mine in Wigan I found out about Ernie so I thought I’d give him a call. I tracked him down at his home in Lathom and he produced these two photo scrolls of the St Helens police force in 1964 and 1969.

“I took them to a place in Liverpool and had them printed onto boards, which are now going to be displayed on the walls at St Helens Police Station.”

St Helens police’s area commander, Rob Carden, said that the nostalgic snapshots would now take pride of place in the College Street station’s conference room.

He also plans to organise a modern-day version of the photograph, featuring current members of the local force.

Mr Robinson joined St Helens police in the late 1940s and collected HM the Queen’s jubilee medal in 1977 before retiring the following year.

And the father-of-one recalled how every member of the police force was summoned to the playing fields at Cowley Girls School for the first photo in 1964 - with no questions asked!

He said: “None of us knew why we were called there - we just did what we were told. Unfortunately I missed the second photo, which was taken at the old police yard, because I was assaulted stopping two burglars on Reginald Road.

“I had to have 18 stitches in my head after being hit with a brick and ended up having eight months off work. I weighed 16-and-a-half stone at the time of the incident but had dropped to less than 10 stone by the time of my first day back.”