Obituary: Popular former Leighton Buzzard policeman Malcolm Barker was respected by everyone

Malcolm Barker
Malcolm Barker

Malcolm Cyril Barker, who has died aged 86, was a serving police officer for 30 years and an active member of the community throughout his adult life.

Malcolm, of Kiteleys Green, Leighton Buzzard, fought in the Korean War between 1951 and 1953 and it was an experience that shaped his future career. “I thought if this is war, I want to keep the peace”, he once told the Beds & Bucks Observer.

Malcolm Barker

Malcolm Barker

And keep it he did. Malcolm joined Bedfordshire Police in 1953 and would go on to spend 18 years of his career in Leighton Buzzard.

One of his recollections was looking after the man convicted of the A6 murder, James Hanratty, who would go on to be one of the last criminals to be hanged in this country.

Malcolm, who was promoted to sergeant in 1976 was a true British bobby who sought to keep his community safe.

During his career, he received seven commendations, including one for bravery in 1959. On his retirement in April 1983, one LBO reader who as a youth had known the police sergeant wrote in to say that, “with Sgt Barker go the values once synonymous with the police, those of a local copper whom everyone knew and everyone respected.”

His early experiences in Korea were never forgotten; he was involved in the Royal British Legion and the British Korean Veterans’ Association. In 2015, he was named Ambassador for Peace by the Republic of Korea.

Malcolm had a number of pastimes, including growing vegetables on his allotment. Passionate about sport, he enjoyed playing snooker and was also actively involved in Leighton Town Football Club and Leighton Buzzard Bowling Club.

He was a life-long West Bromwich Albion fan until the day he died on April 16, 2019.

Malcolm was a loving husband to Bernadette, a devoted father to Ursula, Dorothy, Amanda and Manny, and a beloved grandfather and great grandfather. He was also a brother, uncle and a good friend to many.

The funeral will take place at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Leighton Buzzard on Tuesday, May 7 at 1pm, followed by burial in Old Linslade. Family flowers only. Black not obligatory, dark blue and white for West Bromwich Albion desirable. All welcome. Donations, if desired, by way of cheque payable to The Royal British Legion or Diabetes UK may be sent to Dillamore Funeral Service Ltd, 16 Old Road, Linslade, Leighton Buzzard, Beds LU7 2RF. 01525 372210.