The Heart of Bucks ‘Inspiring Buckinghamshire’ series gives local people from a range of sectors a chance to share their knowledge and insights to help inspire others.
Here we are speaking with our Chair of Trustees, Moir Stewart
Tell us about yourself and your connection to Buckinghamshire
I was born in Kampala, Uganda and returned to the UK in 1962. My father was a vet and my mother a hard-working stay at home mum. On return from Uganda, we went to live in Bourton- on- the Water, Gloucestershire, where my Dad joined a veterinary practice where one of the partners was his best friend from university. It was through this connection that I met my “wife to be” Diane. We married in 1980 and had three wonderful children. We have recently been joined by our first grandchild.
We moved to Buckinghamshire over 40 years ago, settling in Penn in 1991. We love the village and have made many wonderful friends.
I retired from the police after completing 35 years service, having enjoyed every moment. My final appointment was as commander in charge of anti-corruption and professional standards for the Metropolitan Police. I then joined the Independent Police Complaints Commission as Director of Investigations. The IPCC was responsible for investigating serious complaints against the police, including corruption, police shootings and many others.
I retired from this role in 2015. Enjoying my newfound freedom playing golf and assisting my wife in the garden! Importantly, I was also able to spend quality time supporting my mother who at the time had dementia brought on by her cancer treatment.
It was during this period I saw first-hand how local support groups are so essential. The carers, nurses and doctors who supported my mother at all times did so with tenderness – they really did care.
When my mother finally passed away I wondered if there was something I could do to help the community in Buckinghamshire. It was at about this time I heard about the Heart of Bucks Community Foundation. I spoke to others involved and was taken by the drive and determination of those who worked for the foundation. I subsequently applied successfully to become a trustee. I am now the Chairman of Trustees and very proud of what our staff do to ensure we support vulnerable people and organisations who live in Buckinghamshire.
What personal achievements are you most proud of?
During the entire covid pandemic our staff at the Heart of Bucks worked tirelessly to ensure grant applications were dealt with efficiently to ensure local people and groups were adequately supported. In many cases, this was a lifeline and the fact we were able to do so was a great achievement for our charity.
I am also very appreciative of my wife and three children. Each in their own way has supported local causes and people. They realise just how fortunate they are compared with so many who live in the county. From volunteering to support local causes, running marathons, half-marathons or taking part in charitable events. They make their small, but important contributions to the community.
What are some of the challenges you have faced, and how have you overcome them?
In policing there are many challenges, whether it is delivering heartbreaking news, dealing with opposing political groups, violent behaviour by football fans or the aftermath of terrorist attacks. Each has its own challenges, but as long as I did my best to ensure everyone was treated lawfully, politely and fairly I was satisfied. In the main, it is about good communication including listening and explaining. I remember several occasions where I arrested individuals and they said,” Thank you for how you dealt with me”.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Many years ago I remember a poet named Maya Angelou saying:
“people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
That says it all.
What is your greatest hope for the future for Buckinghamshire?
Covid brought many people together within their communities to ensure that vulnerable people were supported and not left without food and basic necessities. My hope is this continues and grows and that the voluntary sector can work together to achieve that aim.
If you’d like to read any more entries into our Inspiring Buckinghamshire series, click here.