60 Seconds with Dave Wheeler

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

As a teenager, Dave Wheeler loved the sporting opportunities that Lincoln Grammar school provided. And that was part of the reason he joined Lincolnshire Police as a cadet in 1976. ‘The police cadets offered not only an interesting job, but the chance to get involved in a lot of physical and sporting activities,’ he says

Having completed more than 30 years’ police service, Dave retired as a chief superintendent in 2008. ‘For 12 years, one of my roles was as a police negotiator. It was testing work, dealing with people in immediate crisis situations, but very rewarding too.’ As a result of this work, Dave was a regular presenter on the national siege management course at the UK Police Staff College. He also presented case studies in the UK and the USA.

On retirement, Dave was the county commander for Lincolnshire St John Ambulance (SJA) for four years, overseeing more than 600 volunteers. In 2009, and again in 2012, he visited Nepal where he presented two ambulances, donated by SJA, to villagers in the Lumbini region.

Until 2017, Dave was a self-employed consultant and performance development coach, working with individuals to improve their performance as well as writing and delivering major incident-planning exercises for local authorites.

In his spare time, Dave is a committed follower of Lincoln City FC, where he has been a season ticket holder for many years.

What first appealed about Freemasonry?

My father and older brother were Freemasons so I think it was the sense of joining an extended family. The sense of calm within the lodge and the formality with fun at the festive board made the greatest initial impression on me.

Has Freemasonry improved your life?

In my early days, it was a complete distraction from a hectic day-to-day life. Attending a lodge was, to me, an oasis of calm. Learning and delivering ritual with tremendous mutual support from others gave me a lot of confidence in delivering presentations and public speaking.

What was the most memorable part of your initiation?

Seeing colleagues and friends, some of whom I had no idea were Freemasons! Also, the structure and enjoyment of the festive board made a huge impression.

What values do you most admire?

Integrity. If people make mistakes but are acting with the right intentions then we can learn and move forward. If someone deliberately sets out to make mischief or mislead then I find it hard to understand their intentions.

Famous Freemason you admire?

As a role model, the Grand Master has to be the best example I can think of who gives service before self. To hold that position for more than 50 years and still be actively involved is incredible.

Best bit of advice you’ve ever received?

To treat people as you would like to be treated and be true to yourself. It has served me well during my career in the police and in my journey as a Freemason. 

Which book made an impact on you?

As a teenager I was given a copy of The Lord of the Rings by my sister. I couldn’t put it down then and still return to it now. I like reading for recreation and to be taken to other places within my imagination. I also enjoy science fiction and the Dune series by Frank Herbert is another example of a completely absorbing and alternative universe.

Favourite place in the world and why?

I’ve been lucky to have been able to travel a lot in the last few years and I love visiting North America. The Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone were all on my bucket list and all exceeded my expectations. Australia and New Zealand are still on my to-do list.

Are you a music fan?

My music tastes are completely random, but I am a big fan of Queen, ELO and 10cc. I didn’t manage to see Queen perform but have seen Brian May, Jeff Lynne’s ELO and 10cc live over the past few years and they have all been brilliant. My children would say that I also like Eurovision but I couldn’t possibly comment.

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