St Helens Brother Profiles-Brother Baldry

IN PROFILE – George Baldry

To be presented to Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace must be the highlight of any person’s life who has been so honoured and George Baldry is no exception. George who was awarded an MBE for services to the community looks back on the occasion with great  pride.

“One of the proudest moments of my life but also very humbling,” declares George. “It was a great honour although it was totally unexpected and to meet and speak to the Queen made it doubly so.”

George’s MBE for which he knew nothing about, even his family who had been asked to do some research kept it from him, was for his work with young people, through rugby, charity fund raising,  local community and support work, especially Young Enterprise.

George was born on 9th February 1944 and attended St.Bartholemew’s School in Rainhill before moving to St.Luke’s at Whiston. After 11 plus he went to West Park Catholic Grammar School where he excelled at rugby playing in all the age groups right through to 1st XV.

“When I first made it to the 1st XV the side was coached by Br. Victor but later Joe Coan, who eventually went to coach Saints took over,” George explained. “We didn’t have a massive fixture list but two fixtures that were always hard fought were against Wade Deacon from Widnes and local St.Helens rivals Cowley. They really were ‘humdingers’!”

After 6th form, rather than moving on to university,  George joined Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise and began work in the uniformed Waterguard branch as an assistant officer. Promotion followed to executive officer with postings to Belfast, Gatwick, Liverpool, London and Manchester Airports.

George likes to recall an incident at Gatwick when his task was to challenge passengers in the baggage hall. “I was a complete novice,” he recalls. “I was in the baggage hall and I stopped this man from going through. Do you know who I am he said to which I said no.”I’m Freddie Laker and I’m George Baldry I replied”. I did not know then that he was the not only the owner of Laker Airways but owned most of Gatwick as well!. Luckily I didn’t lose my job.”

The altercation could not have done him much harm As he rose through the ranks to Principal Business Manager eventually completing his career as Assistant Director in charge of the North West Immigration and Asylum Programme from which he retired in 2004.

Away from work, George has many and varied interests. Apart from family, two children and three grandchildren he is still a member of  West Park Rugby club which he joined in 1965 and helped set up the mini-junior section in 1983 on which he served as chairman until recently.

He was also a member of the St.Helens Junior Chamber of Commerce and served as chairman in 1985.

George joined the Catenians in 2011.

“My wife had not long since died and I wanted something different and “I found in the Catenians something of which I could be a part of without having to make the commitments I have had to make in other parts of my life,” he observed. “I can be involved as much or as little as I want and I have met some great and very friendly people.”

However when asked what originally drew him in he added.

“I went to a pulpit presentation but although it was interesting and informative it was not that which convinced me. It was rather a conversation I had afterwards with Paul Jameson that made me decide to make further enquiries. So there was no ‘Damascus’ moment – sorry John!”

By Br Geoff Lightfoot




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