Inspector John "Coco" Eve

I retired from the Bermuda Police in 1991, having served 25 years. I had a young family and the decision to leave Bermuda and settle back in the UK  was taken 9 years before my actual retirement.  Any change of mind would have had my wife, Daphne, doing horrible things to me!

A svelte young 'Coco' Eve dribbles Stanley Matthews style passed a befuddled
Andy Bermingham with John McConnie looking on!

Our children, Erin and Lynsey were 9 and 5 at that time and at an age where a complete change in lifestyle would only have a minimal impact on their education.  Although my friends in the Police could not believe this, it was mainly for reasons of the education of our children, plus financial considerations as to this end, and my pension being able to sustain us, at least for a time in the UK, that the move was made.

Tri-colour flies over Front Street, Hamilton, for IRELAND WEEK at the Island's three
leading department stores: Trimingham's, Cooper's, and H.A. and E. Smith's
Photo shows (l-r) Mr. Robert C. Law, Chief Executive of the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce,
 Mr. Donald Scully, General Manager - North America, Coras Trachtala,
and Police Constable John "Coco" Eve directing traffic in the birdcage.
Editors note  -  We wonder how many makes of vehicles can be seen in this photograph

I really loved my time in Bermuda both socially and the job! In fact I never considered being a police officer was a job.

Western Division at its finest with Coco far right on second row.
Can anyone identify all the other officers in this photo?

Before returning to the UK we spent 11weeks in Long Island with our good friends the (Dave) Woodcock family. I was unfortunate to be an only child and class them as my family, as do our children.

On returning to the UK we settled in Leek, close to my parents, and began the process of a complete change in lifestyle. I am certain that our children had a much easier time as Erin was the age to start middle school and rapidly made friends. Lynsey was the age to start junior school and also made friends. I had my old school friends and a few from my service in Staffs County Police. Daphne made a few friends from her love of horse riding.

However, on the job side it would appear that no one was interested in an ex police officer except as a security officer, one job I had vowed never to take on. I was offered a possibility as head of security for a large local firm by the owner. When his sons found out it caused an argument and I was not even given the courtesy of an interview. I am not a person who gets easily bored with life and found you could easily fill 24 hours a day without any problem. This included school runs, walking miles with a gorgeous golden retriever named Nugget (real name Bermuda Regencian Gold), visits to parents, horses etc.  We also purchased a second hand caravan and all summer holidays would be spent with the dog and eventually a second golden retriever.

The main thing I missed was the camaraderie of my friends in Bermuda.  In April 2015 I met up with Roger Sherratt, Terry Heathcote and Christine Muspratt  all of whom had served in both the Bermuda Police and the Staffordshire Police, and we spent several hours at Trentham Gardens just chatting about our experiences in Bermuda.   We all agreed that policemen definitely have a different sense of humor especially Bermuda policemen.

Bermuda-Staffordshire Reunion at Trentham Gardens (April 2015)
(l-r)  Terry Heathcote, Christine Muspratt, John "Coco" Eve, and Roger Sherratt
Roger and 'Coco"

All this was brought to a tragic end when the girls were 15 and 10 when Daphne died from cancer only six months after being diagnosed. My time now was completely taken up with the children. Fortunately, I was self sufficient and was in fact the cook of the family. Daphne gave that position up when I had been warned on numerous occasion that any future meddling with her meals would mean I had the job permanently! The next ten years of my life were taken up seeing our girls continue their education. Both attended university.

Erin graduated in photography from Cheltenham and is now a married lady in Hertfordshire and a professional photographer in London.

Lynsey graduated from Swansea in English with American studies and spent one year of the course in San Francisco. This just happened to be where the Woodcock's son, Robert was a professional musician. She is now employed by Bet. 365, the  owners of which also have Stoke City Football Club. Yes, I am a supporter.  Lynsey has been with her boyfriend, Alex, for a couple of years and I’m happy to say I totally approve of her choice. 

From 1991, a group of six friends, me included, had been socializing  on most weeks at local beer parlours and became known as “The Bible Class”. Three of us were in the same class at high school; one was a solicitor, one an ex maths teacher and owner of a large industrial laundry service, and the last one a recently retired entrepreneur named Barry Hope.  Nine years ago one of his sisters named Kath lost her husband and after a while would occasionally come out when the group invited wives to join the Bible Class.

One Xmas my daughter Lynsey joined as my guest and we met at Barry's house prior to getting a taxi. That was the first time I met Kath and I said to myself,  “Eve, you could get in trouble here”! This proved correct and we have  happily been together for the past 7 years.

'Coco' and Kath  -  a very happy couple


Kath has two girls as well. We all get on famously. As for my Woodcock family, David and Arleen adopted a Korean daughter. She is married to a Suffolk County Police Officer. Both my daughters were bridesmaids at the wedding in Long Island. Erin got married to a wonderful man named James, who travelled up from Hertfordshire to ask for her hand in marriage. I thought he was after borrowing money. He actually proposed at the Southampton Princess Hotel in Bermuda when they were on vacation. They were married in Hertfordshire last May 31st. David, Arleen and Robert attended from the States.

Coco and family
Top Row - James and Erin Croker and "Coco"
Seated -  Alex Salt, Lynsey and Kath

Although I have not been back to Bermuda since 1998, I am in touch through relations, good friends and the excellent ExPo web site. Also, even though we do not live on an easy route through the UK we have received a number of visitors throughout the years. Police members of our time would remember a good friend to the Service, namely Shirley Harney. He and his wife Cheryl visited on a few occasions. 

It was always a treat to see a good friend like Shirley. I remember the last occasion I attended the Police boxing at the Southampton Princess. This was after Shirley had had his first operation and he found out he could drink a lot more without it effecting his balance etc. Well Shirley knew everyone! The head waiter at the hotel just happened to be an ex boyfriend of his daughter. He led us to a table for two on the second tier and left us to settle in. Shirley turns to me and says, '' Coco, you don't really like champagne do you ?'' A few minutes later the head waiter returns with an ice bucket containing a bottle covered by a towel which is placed beneath the table and Shirley pours the first two drinks from a forty ouncer of Dewars White Label. When later the second bottle appeared, I knew I was in for a rough night. In fact I awoke on the floor of the homestead the next morning still in my tuxedo.

Through our mutual friendship with Shirley another long term association with John and Lyn Greatrex started. Before John and Lyn returned to the UK I had never set foot in South Wales. Some people would probably say, '' Well what's wrong with that?''  Many of my vacations have been spent in North Wales as my grandfather on my mother's side was Welsh.

When John and Lyn returned I entered South Wales for the first time, without a passport, and started a love affair with that part of the country. One of the saddest times was the sudden passing of Lyn. 

Through our mutual friends, the Woodcocks I also formed a friendship with Tom and Helen Gallagher (see note from Helen below), and since the passing of the big man Kath and myself see Helen every time she visits her aunt near Preston. These are just a few of the friendships continued on from Bermuda.

Early visitors to our home here in Ladderidge were Les Brown, his wife Heather and their two sons. Mike and Carole Jent have also been regular visitors, and we have also been to the Woodcock's with them. Mike was Woodies best man and we have kept in touch throughout the years. Mike and Carole are in fact coming up for a visit on Bermuda Day (2015).

Last September I attended the Bermuda reunion organized by Bill Nixon just at Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham and met up with some of my old mates including Jerry Lyons, Mick Jent, Brian Malpas and a host of other familiar faces from my Bermuda days.  It was a fabulous event and I look forward to others reunions in the future.

Former Boys in Blue at Sutton Coldfield Reunion
(l-r) Jerry Lyons, Brian Malpas, John "Coco" Eve, Les Brown and Angus Brown
"Five Guys" out and about in Birmingham
(l-r) Dave Cook, Angus Brown, "Coco", Jerry Lyons and Mike Jent

I have to mention another visitor. Although it is a number of years since he visited, Moby Pett.  I believe you now have bionic knees. Well, you will now be able to walk up Ladderedge to my nearest pub, 'The Wheel'  without grumbling, “How much further?” It was only a ten minute walk, Moby.

Other visitors have included Graham Alderson, Derek Smith, Cyril Plant and Pauline. I lost touch with Syd and having heard of his problems wish I hadn't . Also, I cannot forget my best man, Gerry Lyons,  and one of our watch members in Somerset, ''Paws''.  Andy Donaldson was one of the best policemen who I ever served with. A few weeks before he died he spent a weekend with my family, time off from him attending a Home Office course in Stafford.

'Coco' and 'Malps' taken during one of Brian's visits to Ladderedge

I leave my good friend ‘Malps’ (Brian Malpas) to last. My most prolific visitor, and the person responsible for me still being a Becks aficionado.  When I was single and living at Cavello Heights in Somerset I was a Heineken drinker. Brian Malpas was a regular visitor who wouldn't touch Heineken and proceeded to quaff my Vodka. I saw the light and have been a Becks drinker ever since. I know that on his seventieth birthday he did a skydive in Las  Vegas. On his eightieth he appeared out of the blue on my doorstep with his sister. “Hey Cokes, I’m going to hang glide somewhere near here”. Unfortunately the weather was against him. Well never mind Malps there is always the ninetieth!   I receive all information about my Somerset friends from Malps.

Should some of my friends think that I have forgotten them, that is not the case. I have many fond memories of good times in Bermuda with good mates.

Since being with Kathleen I have a huge second family. My time seems to be mapped out. Kath's husband Andy had a brother John who had four sons. I was immediately accepted into this family and have over the past seven years been attending weddings, birthdays, christenings and unfortunately the loss of John who had welcomed me with open arms and was becoming a good friend also.

Kath with Lynsey (left) and Erin
Kath with her two daughters, Amanda (left) and Deborah

That’s it for the time being, but I’ll set to and write more about my time in Bermuda.

Regards to All
6th July 2015
Editors note -  We just heard from Helen Gallagher who says, "Our friendship with John goes back a long time and though interrupted by some years when John had moved back to the UK we reconnected again through our mutual friendship with the Woodcock's and have spent many great and funny times together with John and his two lovely daughters, and later with Kath who is a wonderful lady.  When we first returned to Northern Ireland the Woodcock's, John, and Mike and Carole Jent came over and spent a few days with us which was hilarious as many tales were told about exploits in the police as you may well know.
When I go to my aunts near Preston  we usually get together with John and Kath and also Barry Higham and his wife and either go out to lunch or I have them over to my aunts so we have a great time catching up again. John is a very caring  and compassionate man and I always enjoy his company.