I was born in Dingwall during 1956. Around about this time my father deserted the family home leaving my mother to bring up three sons with little means. I grew up with a group of lads who frequently came to the adverse notice of police and I was abusing alcohol by my early teens. School provided no qualifications and employment saw me drift from job to job.
One morning I called into a local pub and ordered a pint. To my dismay a Police Inspector appeared at the door and summoned me outside. Caught underage I thought. Well I had a good run after all. To my astonishment the Inspector asked if I wanted to join the Ross & Sutherland Constabulary! I was an accomplished young footballer and he was the manager of the force football side! To members of the public reading this item, I can assure them that the Northern Constabulary (forces amalgamated 1975) do not recruit in this fashion! By the way I did swallow that pint after the Inspector left.
I went on to join the police as a cadet and ended up in Stornoway. My landlady was a Christian and a bible had been placed in my bedroom. I remember reading from the Psalms and the New Testament but obviously this had little effect on me at that time as I continued drinking, chasing the local nurses and generally having a 'good time'.
I progressed to constable but left the police a year later and became a barman in a Stornoway hotel. From there I moved to Inverness where I sold confectionery and cigarettes. Mary (who I had met in Stornoway) and I got married and we settled down for a short time in this new location.
During 1978 I returned to the Northern Constabulary and have since served in Brora, Stornoway, Ness, Portree, Nairn and in Inverness on two occasions as a uniformed constable, CID officer and in my present post as a uniformed sergeant. I have always worked as an operational officer (they call it 'front line').
It was during the eighties as a CID officer in Inverness that I came under the strong conviction of the Holy Spirit. I had found myself regularly attending church and my sin was being painfully exposed. During this time I was running marathons and took part in the Paris Marathon which was held on Sunday. I felt uneasy about the situation. The Lord led me to examine the life of a man who refused to run in Paris on a Sunday. No person had a greater influence on my life for the good than Eric Liddell particularly his witness and teachings while held in internment by the Japanese in China. The book containing his written work in China 'The Disciplines of the Christian Life' (Triangle) had a profound effect on me.
During 1989 as a CID officer in Inverness I finally surrendered my life into the hands of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
From 1993 to 2000 I served the Lord as secretary of the Northern Branch of the Christian Police Association. Workplace witness is not an option, it is a requirement. Are we salt and light? It has been well said that the only Bible a person may ever read may be your life. What a responsibility we carry. " They are watching you, marking all you do, hearing the things you say, let them see the Saviour, as He shines in you" Despite our inadequacies, we are Ambassadors for Christ. There is no greater privilege known to man than to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
I ask you never to write anybody off despite their background or what might be your blinkered view of them. I worked with a former Irish terrorist a number of years ago. His grandmother prayed for him over a considerable period of time as he served a lengthy prison sentence. She believed that in God's eyes there is not such thing as a 'hopeless case'. Her faith and prayers were answered and a wonderful ministry followed.
Like any other child of God I have gone through the difficult times. But I can truly echo the words of King David "it was good that I was afflicted" As it is said elsewhere " Our light affliction is but for a moment compared to a glory that has no end"
I can also say like any other Christian there have been times when my life, my faith and my testimony have fallen badly short of the mark. John Newton sums up my feelings:
"I am not what I ought to be.
I am not what I want to be.
I am not what I hope to be.
But still, I am not what I used to be.
And by the Grace of God, I am what I am"
Thanks be to God for that Grace which saved me, which has kept me thus far and which will preserve me all the way to 'Gloryland'. The will of God will never lead us to where the Grace of God cannot keep us. That we are assured.