One of Burnham-On-Sea’s longest serving members of the Special Constabulary has retired after 21 years in the job.

Alan Matthews has become a familiar face in the Burnham and Highbridge areas throughout his years of service, which began when he became a special in 1985.

The 57-year-old grandfather has this week been presented with a commemorative bar and plaque by Insp Nic Crocker in recognition of his outstanding service.

As well as undertaking general patrols and responding to emergencies with regular officers, as a section officer Alan organised and oversaw the police response to many local events, ensuring they went ahead safely and peacefully.

In addition to his work as a special, chartered accountant Alan has also worked voluntarily with the Scouts during the last 19 years, initially as Burnham’s treasurer and for many years now as group chairman.

Alan now hopes to spend more time with his wife Mary, their two children and grandchild.

He said: “It’s been a grand time, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. It’s been very enjoyable.”

One of Alan’s most notable tours came during a visit to Burnham by the Princess Royal. Quick thinking by Alan avoided a security incident when the princess became surrounded by the watching crowd.

He said: “Suddenly the crowd moved forwards thinking the royal party had gone on. I saw Princess Anne was caught in the middle of everybody and managed to clear her way through. She was very grateful”.

Inspector Crocker, who as a sergeant served with Alan at Burnham, said: “Alan has been a great servant to the police and the people of this area. He and his colleagues in the Special Constabulary really helped to make the difference when I served at Burnham. I was delighted to be able to make this presentation.”

Insp Crocker added: “The Special Constabulary makes a tremendous contribution to our work. We can do more and do it better with their help – we need more people like Alan.”

Anyone interested in joining the Special Constabulary can contact Burnham police station.

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