ST HELENS Council has expressed sadness as a long-standing and dedicated volunteer with its youth services has retired due to ill health

Brian McCormack, 78, recently stepped down from his volunteer duties with the council’s Youth Justice Service (YJS) due to ill health, after giving 12 years of support.

The team he helped for so long sad have shared their sadness to see him go.

For a dozen years, Brian’s role as a YJS panel member saw him supporting young people who have pleaded guilty to an offence and been sentenced to referral orders.

The young person would then attend an initial panel, consisting of community volunteers like Brian, whose main role is to work with the young person to draw up a plan of work that they are going to complete over the course of their referral order.

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Panel colleagues said of Brian: “He was brilliant with the young people and always tried to bring them out of their shells with his jokes and almost grandad-like style! Brian also mentored one of our young people for a short time as he got on with them so much during their initial panel.”

“This is the saddest news. Both for his health and his role. Will miss him lots! He was fantastic with the young people and we’re so sad he can’t continue doing what he loves and was so good at.

“Hopefully his health improves and if he ever wanted to come back we’d be more than happy to pick him up and bring him to panels if he wanted to. He is the loveliest man.”

Brian, from Thatto Heath, added: “I had retired so had a lot of spare time on my hands. I had been working with Samaritans and adults with learning difficulties and also had previously worked with young people over the years. There was an advert in the paper for volunteers at the YJS so I just got in contact. I got a lot out of it and really enjoyed it.

“I think the age difference actually helped, and the vast majority of young people over the years were completely respectful of the panels. Many people might hear the term ‘young offender’ and think there’s nothing else to the young people. And not to say they weren’t responsible for what they did, but a lot of young people were just misguided, gave in to peer pressure or didn’t have good relationships at home.

“And so it was really rewarding to see them make up for their actions and start to turn their lives around.

Brian said: “I would like to thank the Youth Justice Service for the many years attending panels where they always offered support. And to my fellow panel members, may you continue offering help to the young people brought before you.”

  • Anyone interested in supporting the Youth Justice Service as a volunteer, can call the team on 01744 677990 and ask to speak to Volunteer Coordinator Megan Stephen.