I stood in front of Buckingham Palace and gazed in awe.
Just seven at the time, I was desperate to meet the Queen.
Little did I know that years later I would be handed an MBE by Her Majesty.
I grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, with my parents Mary and Bill and my two brothers Christopher and Billy.
It was the swinging sixties and life was simple.
I was living through a youth-driven cultural revolution – fashion, art and music became a symbol of our times.
I became a member of the scooter club; we would hang out and ride our bikes in large groups.
On a trip to Cornwall in 1963 I started growing close to one guy called Robert.
Robert was also from Bradford – he was handsome and would easily make me laugh.
Before I knew it, we had been dating for seven happy years.
One by one each of our friends paired off and got married.
I was 26 at the time and was ready to give up the hippy lifestyle to settle down with the man of my dreams.
In May 1970, Robert eventually got down on one knee.
‘Will you marry me sweetheart?’ he said – I couldn’t stop myself from smiling.
‘Yes I will! I’ve been waiting seven years for you to ask me that,’ I jokingly replied.
We finally tied the knot one year later.
We moved to a lovely three-bedroom semi-detached house in Mirfield, West Yorkshire.
I started working as a secretary, but I always dreamt of becoming a police officer.
I wanted to help people and the unpredictability of the job excited me.
But the years flew by and it got put on the back burner.
One evening in January 1977, I started feeling queasy – I ran to the bathroom and took a pregnancy test.
I waited anxiously – worrying what it could mean for my job.
When the test returned a positive result, I was delighted and so was Robert.
But my career took a back seat so I could start a family.
Our first child, Graham, 44, was born in September 1977 at Dewsbury and District Hospital, Yorkshire.
Motherhood was a joy but I still yearned to find a job that felt rewarding.
Following my maternity leave I decided to find a new job, and using all the skills I acquired as a secretary, I got a job as a teacher helping others with administrative skills.
In June 1982, we welcomed our second son Robert.
I had the perfect family.
Part of my job was to find on-sight training for people to gain office skills.
On one of my work visits in February 1993, I met a woman who trained as a special constable.
I noticed a police hat placed on top of her bookcase.
‘Are you an officer? I’ve always wanted to work in the force,’ I blurted out.
‘Yes I am, you should give it a go – they’re recruiting,’ she replied.
I laughed out loud and told her that at 45, I was probably too old.
‘Don’t be silly, you have plenty of years to make a difference,’ she said.
I walked away feeling that my life was about to change and that my age was nothing but a number.
I rushed home and told Robert, now 72, a retired engineer, that I was going to make the career move that I had spent years waiting for.
‘It’s your time to shine Liz, you’re a strong woman and I know you can do this,’ he said.
My son Graham, who was 20 at the time, also wanted to become a police officer.
So we both joined West Yorkshire Police at the same time in April 1993.
‘You’ll be taking your mum to work with you every day now,’ I teased him.
We both trained as a special constable known as a volunteer police officer.
We started working shifts together and were soon working ten hours a day.
Waking up and putting on my uniform filled me with satisfaction.
My role consisted of a variety of duties; I would respond to 999 calls, carry out foot and vehicle patrols and house-to-house enquiries.
I also worked with schools to provide advice on safety and crime and road safety initiatives.
It felt exhilarating to eventually have a job where I felt I was making a difference.
Before long everyone in the area knew my name – I would even get recognised when I was out shopping!
It was a lovely feeling to know that I was helping the community.
One afternoon in March 2003, I was called into my sergeant’s office – I was told that I had reached the age of retirement.
I was 55, but I felt so young at heart and I had so much more to give.
I was forced to retire, handing back my uniform with tears in my eyes.
I felt like I was being thrown on the scrap heap.
After leaving the police, I tried different jobs including a prison rehabilitation officer, to help people find jobs after they came out of prison.
But deep down I still wanted to work in the police.
One evening over a family roast, my daughter-in-law, Graham’s wife, who was also a police officer told me that a position for a police community support officer (PCSO) was open.
I wondered whether to apply for days – I thought that being 58 may affect my chances but I took the leap and went for it.
In January 2006, I was delighted to find out that I got the position.
I started at Humberside Police two months later and was surprised to get a salaried position.
We moved to Bridlington near the east coast of Yorkshire – I came to live by the sea in a house that I love.
I’m responsible for six villages – I give talks to OAPs warning them about the danger of scammers and also visit three different schools to address pupils about safety.
Some of my most challenging assignments involve being called out to domestic disputes, which can range from abuse to petty arguments.
I also deal with antisocial behaviour, neighbour disputes and road closures.
One of my favourite things about being a PCSO is being in a position to help the vulnerable.
My job brings me so much happiness, every day is different and each day is filled with laughter.
It’s very fulfilling to get home at the end of the day knowing I’ve served my community
The locals say having me around is like the old days when there was a village bobby.
I’m always getting grabbed for a word by someone or another which is really nice – I’m more than happy to talk to anyone to try to help.
I work a 56-hour week and can be seen patrolling the streets every day and I have no plans to hang up my handcuffs any time soon.
I’m now 72 – I might look old on the outside but I feel young and I still have a lot to give.
I’d happily carry on for another 10, 15 or even 20 years, as there is no retirement age for PCSOs.
Early one morning in April 2010, I received a letter with a Royal Stamp of approval at the top.
I was bemused; I speedily read the letter quickly skimming its contents.
‘I’m receiving an MBE for my policing’ I gasped.
I was petrified to meet the Queen but the day had arrived – 400 eyes were on me.
As soon as I stood face-to-face with her majesty, I didn’t care who was looking, it was my time!
I admit that I’m a workaholic – even on my days off I check my work emails.
For now, I have no plans to retire any time soon.
My job, my family and our four dogs – Jasper, Barkley, Danny and Alfie – keep me one busy woman.
This is the last job I’ll ever have and it’s turned out to be my dream position.
If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to not let your dreams pass you by – you’re never too old!
It’s what you make of life! If you want something you’ve got to go for it, just like I did.