P.C. Mike Parris served from 1966-1979

2.15pm 13th June  

UPDATE RE FUNERAL FOR 'BIG MIKE'

We have literally just received news from Jill Caulkett who has been contacted by Mike Parris's brother, Howard, who has advised that the funeral service for "Big Mike" will be held at the Worthing Crematorium at 12 noon on 20th June 2019 followed by a reception afterwards at Findon Manor.

 

8th June 2019

Update re Mike Parris funeral etc.

We have been actively trying to obtain information about Mike Parris’s funeral arrangements etc. but this is proving to be rather complicated to say the least. Mike Caulkett has been in touch with Worthing Hospital where we understand Mike’s body is still located. We know that Mike’s partner, Deidre, is apparently the person who is dealing with any arrangements but has so far not been forthcoming in this regard. Mike Caulkett has been able to make positive contact with Mike Parris’s brother Howard who is checking on the situation and will hopefully advise of any progress. We are also still in touch with Judy Parris (Mike’s first wife) but she too is having difficulty obtaining any information.

As soon as we hear anything definite we will provide you with an update.

 

24th May 2019

Following our enquiries about the condition of Big Mike Parris, who was reported to be seriously ill in Worthing Hospital, Sussex, as reported on our ExPo website just yesterday (see article at http://expobermuda.com/index.php/latest-news/757-concerns-about-big-mike-parris   we have received the sad news from his former wife, Judy Parris, that Mike passed away peacefully this evening in hospital.

We understand that the hospital are trying to contact his partner Deidre to advise her of his passing.  Mike was certainly one of our great characters during his service in the Bermuda Police Force from July 1966 - March 1979, and we offer our sincere condolences to Mike's brother Howard, sister-in-law Joan, niece and nephew Graham and Heather, to Judy, to his partner Deidre, and to his other relatives and friends.    

Judy kindly sent us this photo a couple of days ago of Mike and a pair of models taken by the Department of Tourism when Mike was working here as a constable.  Knowing of Mike's legendary dry sense of humour we thought it was an ideal photo to be featured in this otherwise sad notice.

"Big Mike" Parris enjoying the company of two "angelic" young
ladies during a photo shoot for the Department of Tourism. They appear
to be wearing "bobby helmet" fascinators made of Bermuda lillies!
 

Mike was born and raised in Yorkshire, and he served with the York City Police from 1963- 1966 prior to joining the Bermuda Police in July 1966.  He began his service in Central Division (Hamilton) for 2 years then went on to work in Operations (Traffic), Central CID, Central Parishes, on the Mobile Reserve, in the Murder Room, and latterly in Prosecutions.  He married his first wife Judy in July 1972.

Mike perhaps had two claims to fame while here in Bermuda.  One of our tallest police officers at 6’ 6", he was a key member of our legendary Police Tug o' War team that was never beaten in competition.  You can read more about the Tug o’ War team on our website at  http://expobermuda.com/index.php/lia/91-policetugowar   Mike has also been given "credit" for taking to heart the Bermudian traditon of giving nicknames, and he created some outragous nicknames for his fellow police officers during his time in Bermuda.

You can view our extensive list of nicknames at http://expobermuda.com/index.php/lia/166-nicknames which includes some of his howlers, along with his own two nicknames which were "Big Mike" and 'Yard of Lard"!

He and Judy left Bermuda and settled in the UK  after he left the Island in March 1979.

Mike was a most unforgettable character and one who will always be fondly remembered by all who knew him and served with him.

Victorious Bermuda Police Team - 1969 Agricultural Show Tug o' War Champions 
(l-r) Pat McBride, Davie Kerr, Gary Perinchief, Owen Marsh, Barrie Mancell, 
Ray Sousa, Keith Pratt, Mike Caulkett and "Big Mike" Parris
 
 
 26th May 2019
 
We just received the following information from Dave Barber who wrote to us after receiving the sad report of Mike's passing.
 
Retired Inspector Dave Barber
 
TRIBUTE FROM DAVE BARBER

Very sad to hear of Mike's passing, he was a man of many talents, not only in sports but in the field of music.  Mike used to play in the very popular Somers Isle jazz band and he once told me about his musical training with the local Salvation Army Band in Yorkshire. 

On the sporting scene he was a member of The Somerset Police club #1 darts team who dominated The West End Darts League for many years. he was also one of the regular players in the "All Stars" cricket team who regularly played visiting Royal Navy ships and other local club teams in the Western area. He was a very good bowler and it was a sight to be seen when Mike was bowling from one end with his gentle pace and John "Coco" Eve was racing down snorting and breathing fire from the other end.

Mike in his role as a Prosecutor at magistrates Court met Robin McMillan a Crown Counsel when he first arrived in Bermuda. He brought Robin who was a keen follower of cricket to play occasional games. Robin was a diminutive person and it was a sight to see the pair of them together having a few pints at the Star of India after the games. 

I could say lots more and interesting stories about Mike but am sure everyone who was a friend could do the same. Mike was not a keen flyer but when it came to his departure from Bermuda it was arranged through the kindness of the Resident Naval Officer "R.N.O." for Mike to make his final departure from Bermuda on a Royal Navy frigate. He travelled in the Chiefs Mess with his payment being a barrell of beer for the mess consumption, "Duty Free" of course!

Mike was indeed a "gentle giant" and it was a pleasure to have known him as a friend & Colleague.

R.I.P. Mike
Dave Barber

Editors note -  Many thanks to Dave for submitting this most fitting tribute to Mike.

 

28th May 2019 

In his tribute above, Dave Barber mentions our good friend from North Staffordshire, John "Coco" Eve, and no sooner had we published Dave's comments than we received the following tribute to Big Mike from "Coco" of fiery red hair fame!  You can read more about "Coco" in our "Then and Now" column at http://expobermuda.com/index.php/tan/370-john-coco-eve 

 
Retired Sergeant John "Coco" Eve
 

Mike (Parris) was a good friend who I would speak to on the phone at least once a year. A couple of months ago he told me of his illness and that the doctor told him he could live another year or even two but he sounded frail and I suppose I wasn’t too surprised when he was admitted to hospital .

I believe I could write a book about the big un!  He was a character and a half. Of all the socialising in his company I can only remember him buying a round on a couple of occasions and that was when Pat McBride and myself were with him in the U.K.All friends and acquaintances will remember that you had to either play darts, dominoes, cut a deck of cards at the PRC, play snooker or table tennis at Elbow Beach Staff Club, dominoes,cribbage or the pin ball machines at the Mariners Club  -  and probably a few I have forgotten about.

DB has mentioned a few of the west end memories.I remember being lined up at dockyard with other friends to see him off.The big un got presented with a bucket before sailing (in case of rough seas) A big slice of fun disappeared on that frigate.

Going back to him actually buying a drink for someone else. In the summer of 1969 quite a number of constables ended their first Bermuda contracts and returned to the U.K. or West Indies for a lengthy rest before most returned for a second contract. Whilst over in the UK about ten of us attended the wedding of P.C. Kevin McCarthy (six or seven of us in Bermuda summer uniform.) Memory becomes a little foggy here but there was a first reception somewhere near Stratford, Manchester, where the wedding took place followed by a second reception in Wigan.

After this we attended a casino and night club in Wigan.The next day we left for Manchester, an evening at a club where a very obnoxious comedian named Bernard Manning was the star turn and eventually Mike, Pat and yours truly went to our lodgings in the Palace Hotel.The next morning we were having breakfast with six halves of bitter on the table in front of us (the place was too posh for pints) when the strains of brass band music was heard in the distance. Big Un immediately jumped up, scoffed his beer and disappeared out of the hotel.

Pat and myself found him a short time later standing by the Salvation Army Band. At the end of the concert we returned to the hotel, settled the bill and left for the Eve residence in Leek via a friend’s pub by Rudyard Lake where the pub ceiling was about 6’4” in height. (Editors note - according to our Police Register, Mike measure 6'6" when he arrived in Bermuda). On entering my parents house, dad was switching between horse race meetings on bbc and itv and on the phone to his bookie. Mike joined him and began to place bets also. That night the two guests slept in my parents caravan which was in a field at the bottom of Ladderedge (now part of Westwood Golf Course).

The next day an indignant Parris appeared at the house. Apparantly 6’6” does not fit very easily on a caravan bed and Mike had to open a window and stick his feet out, only to be awoken early in the morning by a cow taking a fancy to them!

Too many stories about a character with many strings to his bow. The man had a love of many types of music. One day in my room in Parker block we were listening to Artur Rubinstein performing Chopin’s Ballade no.4. Mike turned to me and said words to the effect, “I’ve never seen so many bloody notes on a piece of sheet music in my life.” It would appear he had attempted at one time to play the piece.

Too many of our crowd are passing on and most of them were true characters. Mike appears at the top of the list.

My apologies for spelling mistakes and not remembering names of fellow guests at the wedding. If I had to make a guess I would include Big Joe, Abey, Cyril, and Cookie.

All the best to all my old mates in Bermuda and those scattered around the globe.

Coco

Editors note -  I know I've seen a photo of Kevin McCarthy's wedding with his bride and the group of Bermuda police officers all wearing shorts which was published on the front page of a national English newspaper.  If anyone has a copy of theis photo we would be delighted to receive it.

 

31st May 2019

We have also received the following from a fellow Yorkshireman,  "Big Joe" Dave Needham who served here from 1966 - 1970 and was a good friend of Mike Parris.

Former P.C. Dave Needham

It is nearly fifty years since I left those beautiful shores yet I do remember Mike and my day of British nobility!

"Oddjob" (Pat McBride hated that moniker ) was our "manservant", armed each with a picture of a stately mansion befitting a Lord's residence we wooed two American damsels. If Mike were here he would agree the ruse was so successful it ended with a bang!

It was nice to read Dave Barber's and Coco's words about Mike. I certainly remember Kevin and Esme McCarthy's wedding in our full Bermuda police uniform, truncheons raised, we formed an arched honour guard outside the church. It made the front page of the Sunday papers in the U.K.

The same Sunday we all traipsed over to Cyril Plant's parents pub, in Salford, the same pub used in the long running series Coronation Street. We ensconced ourselves in the snug bar, which entertained two charming elderly ladies. They were immediately in awe of Mike, his very presence and charm. In talking to the ladies one of them said she lived nearby to which Mike replied, "I know we passed your house it was the one with the mucky windows."

Only he could say that and get away with it. I seem to remember he was endeared to them even more.

Mike Parris I doubt his like will ever cross my path again.

A Big Un and a Good Un

Warmly Big Joe.

    

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Comments  

#10 terry 2019-06-10 17:29
[quote name="Phil Taylor"]There was a story that was circulated about Mike and Stumpy Kirkham, they were on the beat together and they swapped jackets and paraded down Front Street together

I heard this once many years ago at the PRC. These two guys were good friends ( as we all were back then).

A Happy Deurden tale.
Shalom.
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#9 Davie Kerr 2019-06-10 16:30
Goat's story reminds me of a similar incident which involved Alan Keagle and Barry Meyers swapping helmets and walking down Front Street. Anyone who knew both those lads would appreciate the difference in respective helmet sizes: I think Alan was 6 3/4 while Barry was 7 1/4, and Alan's helmet on Barry looked (in the old Scottish phrase) "like a thimble on a neep" while Alan couldn't even see out from under Barry's helmet!

Editors note - Another great story. For the uninitiated I believe a "need" is a turnip, or as we call them in North Staffordshire, a "chonnock".
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#8 Phil Taylor 2019-06-10 08:08
There was a story that was circulated about Mike and Stumpy Kirkham, they were on the beat together and they swapped jackets and paraded down Front Street together. Obviously this was supposedly before my time, but somewhat typical of both Mike and Stumpy. Can anyone else remember this tale and perhaps authenticate it?

Editors note - Great story and sounds like what both of these characters would do. Stumpy would have looked like he was wearing an overcoat, and , well, Big Mike would have looked ridiculous!
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#7 Mike and Carole Jent 2019-05-31 07:25
A Bermuda Police legend whose memory will live for many years to come. So sad to hear of your passing Mike, you were one of those unique people who could make us laugh out-loud.
Rest in peace.
My condolences to all his family.
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#6 Davie Kerr 2019-05-29 18:38
Any update on funeral arrangements for Mike? I'd love to attend if possible, but it may clash with my Car Scheme duties.

Editors note - No details as yet Davie but will publish as soon as we hear them.
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#5 Davie Kerr 2019-05-28 18:27
Another incident involving Mike, "Big Joe" Needham and Pat McBride has just come to mind. Back in the late '60s Mike was the live-in caretaker of Ridgeway House, up on the hill west of Berkeley Institute, and the story goes that he and Big Joe had picked up two American girls and invited them back to Ridgeway, where, in an attempt to influence their guests as to their social standing in the community, they'd dressed Pat in a Police ceremonial uniform jacket to act as "Oddjob" the butler! History does not relate the results of that episode, if indeed it even actually happened, but I though it was a brilliant story anyway!
As Mike and Pat are sadly no longer with us, maybe someone could contact Dave Needham and see if he can shed any further light on the subject?

Editors note - This seems to be too good a story not to be true!!! Will try contact Big Joe re its veracity!
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#4 Bob Allan 2019-05-27 12:02
Very sad news. Rest in peace you will never be forgotten old friend. ‘Fuzzy wuzz’

Editors note - Many thanks for contacting us Bob. Could you please send us a little information about where you are and what you're doing these days, along with a fairly recent photo if possible, for our Keeping in Touch column?
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#3 Davie Kerr 2019-05-25 05:27
Really sorry to hear that. I served with Mike in both Central and Prosecutions as well as pulling with him in the tug-o'-war team, and some of the best laughs I ever had were during the famous Prosecutions lunchtime card sessions along with Cyril Plant, Neil Anderson, and the one and only Jude "Tuggy" Perotte, often with the addition of "Stumpy" Kirkham and "Black Mac" McLean.
Another character sadly "gawn schru de trees" much too soon...
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#2 Dot / Keith Midgley 2019-05-25 02:46
So sorry to be reading this sad news about Big Mike. We met in Bermuda while he was serving in the police force. Also he played darts with Keith who was a prison officer. We always had a laugh and joke when ever we met some not repeatable on here. We lost touch when he moved back to England and then when we moved but we always chatted about him. RIP dear mate. Sleep tight . Dot and Keith Midgley xxx
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#1 Ray Sousa 2019-05-25 00:18
Sorry to hear the passing of "Big Mike".
Best wishes to his family and friends. I had some good times with Mike on the beat and on the Tug-of-war Team. Our celebrations after each win especially the Commodore's Cup will never be forgotten.
Rest in peace old mate. Hopefully St. Peter 's Team will accept a challenge from us when we all join you.

RAY SOUSA 241
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