I had friends who played table tennis at the YMCA, so I came along with them. I really enjoyed the atmosphere.
Michael Burdis is President of YMCA Doncaster, a position which he has held since 1982. However, his involvement with YMCA Doncaster started much earlier in life.
“I had friends who played table tennis at the YMCA, so I came along with them. I really enjoyed the atmosphere.”
Michael has spent all of his life in Doncaster, now living only half a mile from where he was born.
Serving the community, helping others and a good work ethic seems to have been instilled in him from a very young age, having started earning his first “few bob” at the age of 9. Once his sister was old enough not to need a pram, the young Michael commandeered it for his own use:
“I helped a woman from down the road who had a market stall. I would load up the pram with her goods and push them to the market for her and back again. I got paid two bob for that. Then later on I also helped a chap on the market to set up his stall for which I got paid half a crown.”
At the age of 12 he furthered his career in delivery:
“Picture Granville from Open All Hours; that’s what I did. I even had a bike like his. I delivered groceries for a local off licence that was open from first thing in the morning until late at night. The nuns from the convent at Town Moor really looked after me and I would stop there for a scone and a cup of cocoa everyday.”
Michael went on to do an apprenticeship in Joinery, gaining a City and Guilds qualification. Following that, he secured the job he always wanted and became a police officer:
“I’d always wanted to be a policeman, but my dad told me I needed to have a trade behind me. It was great advice because that job taught me a lot of skills I used when working as a Detective. Problem solving and working on time critical projects without panicking are all transferable skills.”
Michael enjoyed his time in the police service and worked his way to becoming Detective Chief Superintendent for South Yorkshire Police. He trained as a hostage negotiator and was a member of the National Negotiation Team.
He was appointed to a number of Home Office working parties and committees, mostly in relation to murder investigations. He was also appointed as an Expert Witness by the MacPherson Inquiry to give evidence at the tribunal looking into the Stephen Lawrence murder. Following that, he was involved in overseeing the way that cold cases were reviewed and reinvestigated, and in training other officers in crime investigation.
In recognition of his services to the police, Michael was awarded medals including the Police Long Service and Conduct Medal, The Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct and The Queen’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service. Although officially retired, he continues to work with the Home Office as an Independent Consultant and Police Expert in Crime Investigation.
From a young age, Michael has always been interested in the work the YMCA carries out. He served on the Board of the National Council for 6 years and as Chair of the Regional Board for around 15. He has also been appointed as a Board Member for other YMCAs as well as Doncaster. It is evident that he is proud of the work the YMCA does:
“The YMCA helped me when I was a youngster to be a more complete person and a better citizen. I still see it doing its job now; I see other young people becoming better citizens through the work we do. It offers a comfortable and protective environment for young people to thrive. It’s remarkable what the YMCA achieves.”
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