Tony Gilks

Schools Liaison Training Course, Headquarters Lewes 1979
Tony Gilks
Storrington First School, Class 3 1980. Left: Tirza Jago, right: Tony Gilks
Tony Gilks
Angmering runners-up in the National Road Safety Competition, Birmingham.
Tony Gilks
Butterflies by Nicholas Pring aged 10, 1979
Tony Gilks

Youth Work

I have always been interested in the welfare of the young and part of my own youth had been spent with the Boy Scout Movement. This link had really helped me gain entry into the police force because I received my Queen’s Scout Award before I moved to Sussex. This aspect of my life was perhaps why I was selected to become a police liaison officer.

My area covered the district of Littlehampton and as far north as Pulborough, but within that radius there were 36 schools. It was a privilege to work with young people and a very special part of my career. It was also an opportunity to involve my wife and sons in some of the projects. I wasn’t trained but several excellent teachers took me under their wing and gave me valuable advice on teaching methods and public speaking.

Kim Leslie from the West Sussex Record Office gave me a lot of help and guidance. I soon began to realise that children need to be entertained as well as instructed.

Lack of proper training was still an issue for Schools liaison Officers, however, in 1979 a course was set up at Headquarters given by two talented lecturers from Sussex University.

The Handicapped Unit at Angmering Comprehensive School

Throughout my time as a schools liaison officer I had the pleasure of working with Angmering Comprehensive School. Part of this school had a special unit for disabled children to try and integrate them into main-stream education. My brief was to work alongside these children.

It’s true to say I loved working with the children and the amount of untapped talent amongst our youngsters amazing.

Audio copyright Paul Beaken