Trusty police bike is restored to its former glory for Lowestoft man’s 90th birthday
- Credit: Nick Butcher
'Is that my bike?' asks Jack Guymer as he stands in front of a bicycle bearing a remarkable resemblance to his trusted mode of transport which accompanied him throughout a 30-year career as a police officer.
The answer to Mr Guymer's question is 'yes' – and comes courtesy of family and friends, who have restored the much-loved bicycle to its former glory as a surprise gift to mark his 90th birthday.
Mr Guymer said: 'When my son Richard took me outside, I saw the bike and for a second I thought it was a model bike which I had seen in a shop a few weeks earlier.
'Then I said 'is that my bike?' and everybody started clapping and laughing.
'I did feel a bit emotional, as I had grown quite attached to it and had many memories of cycling through the countryside on patrols.
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'I keep going back to look at it, it's just wonderful to see it looking so lovely again.'
In a time when a majority of people are reliant on motorised transport and the image of a bobby on the beat is an uncommon sight, it is hard to imagine a bicycle being of such importance to a police constable on a daily basis.
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But Mr Guymer explains he would regularly use the bicycle during patrols of the Lowestoft area, in all weather conditions, more than 50 years ago.
Bought from Holtham's bike shop in Kirkley for the sum of £10 – more than a week's wages for officers in 1951 – the Raleigh Dynamo 3 Speed became a reliable companion over the course of Mr Guymer's years of service.
Mr Guymer was stationed at a variety of locations throughout Suffolk, including Lowestoft, Leiston and Needham Market, before returning to Lowestoft in 1965 where he remained until his retirement in 1981.
He said a love of meeting and talking to people daily – as well as enjoying cups of tea and cake – were aspects of the job he enjoyed most.
Mr Guymer was joined by family and friends, including wife Olive and sons Bernard, John and Richard, to celebrate his 90th birthday when the surprise gift was revealed at his Lowestoft home.
Tales from the past
Throughout his 30 year career with Suffolk Constabulary Mr Guymer accumulated many memories which the restoration of his treasured bicycle has brought back. He recalls:
'I can remember trying to chase after a man who would not hand over his particulars when asked. But as I was chasing after his van on my bike, the bike chain came off and I never saw him again – the boys had a laugh at my expense back at the office!'
'I can also remember plenty of cold days and evenings patrolling the area on my bike, especially doing what we called the 'poultry patrol' at Christmas time – where we would make sure that people didn't steal chickens or turkeys for their Christmas dinners. At times it got quite ghostly cycling down country lanes late at night.'
Changing face of the force
Over the course of the 65 years since Mr Guymer began working as a PC there have been many changes. He said: 'We always used to walk up and down Lowestoft High Street as well as side streets and along the seafront to the Denes meeting people and talking as we went along. I used to get a lot of information about cases from just talking to people... nowadays they have lost contact with the public.
'It is a shame... Today officers spend most of their day behind their desk doing paperwork, which we did too but we always made sure we were a presence on the street and in the community.'
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