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International Women's Day: Introducing Yvonne Thompson

8 Mar, 2021

British Transport
Police Federation
Mar 8, 2021

International Women's Day: Introducing Yvonne Thompson

Having given more than 31 years' service to BTP Federation, Yvonne Thompson is something of an institution.

A self-confessed 'chatterer', Yvonne loves to talk to officers as she helps them with all manner of enquiries, from updating their details to answering questions about the Group Insurance. As the Federation's Admin Secretary, Yvonne works closely with Jill O'Keefe, who is the Federation's Admin/Legal Secretary.

Yvonne joined BTP Federation on 11 December 1989. She applied for the role having seen the job advertised in the Evening Standard but hadn't expected to be successful.

She said: "I wasn't working at the time, and I didn't think I was going to get it. I didn't think they would employ me, a black woman. I didn't even tell my husband I was going for it."

Yvonne did get the job and joined the small team working from an office on the third floor at London's Paddington train station. At the time, the Chair of the Federation was Mike Bevan, Gerry Tincknell was the General Secretary and Phil White was the Treasurer.

"I was in a little room by myself. I used to use a typewriter a lot and had a computer which typed green writing on the screen, nothing like what we have now. I spent a lot of time sending letters out to other Federations. Mike Bevan used to have really small handwriting that I would have to type up."

Yvonne has been with the Federation through several periods of change including a move to West Dulwich in 1997. For her, the new premises provided more space and better equipment, but it is the people who keep her coming back to work year after year.

"I love it and I love the people I work with. It's such a nice environment; just like a little family," Yvonne said.

"The work has changed over time and recently I've done a lot on the Group Insurance and with the Specials, but I like helping people. We speak to officers all over the country and they are shocked when I remember them."

Alongside changes at work, Yvonne has experienced some major life changes, including most recently, a serious accident.

In November 2019, Yvonne suffered a catalogue of injuries when she was hit by a car close to home, having left for work. She was off for months as she recovered from a fractured back and toe, face and head injuries.

Thankfully, Yvonne made a remarkable recovery, and nothing was going to stop her returning to work. Except perhaps, a global pandemic. Like workers across the country, Yvonne has now been working remotely for several months.

Have the events of the last couple of years made her think about the future?

"I'm not ready to hang my hat up," Yvonne laughed. "I've got a few more years in me yet".

That's something Federation Chair, Nigel Goodband is pleased to hear. He said: "We might save a bit of money on the heating bill, but the Federation office would be far too quiet without Yvonne's laugh, so I'm glad she's staying put.

"In all seriousness, to have been loyal to the Federation - to our members - for so many years is remarkable and commendable. We're lucky to still have Yvonne, especially after her accident, and are grateful for everything she does. Circumstances have prevented us from marking this milestone in the way we would have liked but we will, once it's safe to do so."