Robin Cross - a Special man

PUBLISHED: 13:58 27 May 2008 | UPDATED: 21:51 15 June 2010

ONE of the most familiar faces in Axminster has retired from the Special Constabulary after 27 years of voluntary service.

ONE of the most familiar faces in Axminster has retired from the Special Constabulary after 27 years of voluntary service.Special Chief Inspector Robin Cross, 59, officially stood down from his position, in charge of Axminster, Seaton, Honiton, Ottery, Sidmouth and part of Exmouth, on Sunday (May 25).Mr Cross, who has won a number of awards for his work, said he was sad to leave but felt the time was right."It's taken me a year to say that I've given up the Special Constabulary - it's been difficult," he told the Herald. "I'd be silly to say I wouldn't miss it. I'll miss the team support."But I'm not leaving town. I'll still be at the end of a phone and will continue to look after my town."Mr Cross, who has lived in Axminster most of his life, started his working career on a dairy farm. He decided he wanted to put something back into the community and, in 1971, after an inspirational meeting with the late Les Knight, joined the Specials.He said: "I've never looked back. My time with the Specials has given me so much - it's been a lesson in life."I've gained lots of confidence out of it and have learned how to talk and deal with people from all walks of life. "I have seen people waste their lives - maybe through drink and drugs - and have been able to pass on my experience to help others."While having no regrets, he acknowledges the job could be dangerous at times.He said: "Within the first few months of the job, a colleague got injured. "I made a promise that I'd never let somebody I worked with get injured again. "I kept that promise."I have been injured. I once had a dart stuck in my back. "But, in this area, very few people are nasty. I have grown up with the people here and I can talk to them. Communication is key and I've always found it to be the best way."Mr Cross worked his way up the ranks of the Special Constabulary. Of his many highlights, including the difficult pursuit of a thief across a field and subsequent arrest, he said thanks from colleagues and members of the public made it all worthwhile.Of his many achievements, he feels his legacy will be recruiting enough Specials to cover the area.He said: "I promised before I left I would recruit enough Specials to put one in every village - and I've met my target."Mr Cross will continue to work as a site manager at Axe Valley Community College.Without his tireless efforts and enthusiasm, many community events across East Devon, including carnivals, would not have survived, it has been acknowledged.

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