Recognition for 50 years service to Red Cross for Woking Man, by Mal Foster
A Woking man who was abandoned as a baby has just celebrated fifty years of voluntary service with the Red Cross after a difficult start in life.
When he was just one month old Mick Bullen’s natural mother walked into the old St Dunstan’s Catholic Church in White Rose Lane, Woking and asked the priest there, Father Plumber to look after him for an hour. She never returned.
Mick Bullen (74) was born on 2 December 1941 and was the product of a war romance between his mother and a Canadian soldier. Father Plumber arranged for Mick to be placed in foster care where he grew up and has since enjoyed a normal and happy life.
Mick told the News & Mail, “I don’t hold any bitterness towards my mother; in fact I believe she probably did the right thing at the time given the circumstances she found herself in. I do know that she came to visit me two or three times just after I was placed in foster care so it’s obvious that she must have cared about my welfare.”
He then went on to be educated at Goldsworth School before leaving at fifteen years old to join the railway as a booking boy in Woking Signal Box. His boyhood dream though was to join the Fire Brigade and he got his first job as a fireman at Reigate in January 1961. During his career he enjoyed two spells at Woking Fire Station until he was forced to retire in 1989 with a knee injury.
Mick had decided to volunteer for the Red Cross in September 1965 and eventually started driving ambulances after he had gained his ‘Heavy Driving Licence’ with the fire brigade.
In 1997 he was made an emminent citizen by the Mayor of Woking for his services to charity and then in 2007 after six years hard work he was recognised for almost single-handedly raised an incredible £56,000 to pay for a new state-of-the-art ambulance for the Woking branch of the Red Cross.
At a garden party in Buckingham Palace in July 2008 Mick met HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in recognition for his fund-raising efforts. Mick recalls, “It was very wet that day and when it was my turn to meet Prince Charles I took my umbrella down and he promptly took the ‘mickey’ out of me for getting wet. I told him that as I had been in the fire service for many years I was used to getting wet.”
Mick who received a badge and certificate from the Red Cross for his fifty years of service lives with his wife Teresa. They have two grown up children and two grandchildren and Mick now enjoys most of his spare time taking his fourteen-year-old grandson sea-fishing.