While many have asked, I never missed my parents when I was at prep school. Despite the distance, the busy days kept me entertained and out of trouble during term time. In fact, we used to stay at school over the holidays, with the principal inviting our parents to holiday with us for two weeks as respite from living in London. I fondly remember staying with Brian Ling and his brother on one of these breaks. What better way to spend your holidays than with your friends?
ALL THESE DIFFERENT ACTIVITIES BUILT CHARACTER AND GAVE ONE THE CONFIDENCE TO TACKLE OTHER CHALLENGES.
Going on to Bradfield for Senior school gave me a real chance in life. As a child I had difficulty reading and writing, later to be diagnosed as dyslexia, and was viewed as somewhat dim. Bradfield however had systems in place to manage this apparent lack of academic ability, providing personal support while supplying an endless range of activities beyond the classroom. I really enjoyed cricket, athletics and football, going on to Captain athletics and play 1st team football for Bradfield and cricket for my House. I also learnt to play hockey, squash, tennis, golf and fives, which stood me in good stead for the rest of my life, indeed I am still playing golf!
While I enjoyed all these activities, others I remember were less fun. ‘Outers’ was our swimming pool, an off-shoot from the Pang with freezing, murky waters. On one occasion, during my lifesaving test, I was told to dive to retrieve a brick, only to return to the surface with a crayfish. Of course, I was duly told to go back for the brick! I also remember learning how to ‘tickle a trout’ at school and poach on Englefield estate, which the estate fortunately turned a blind eye to! Indeed, the trout and rabbits obtained helped the catering department to supplement the food rationing that I endured throughout my time at Bradfield. Ultimately, all these different activities, both organised and un-organised, built character and gave one the confidence to tackle other challenges.
The grounding and all-round education that Bradfield gave me in my early years afforded me the opportunity to contribute to the community.
Naturally, National Service was no trouble after Bradfield; while other chaps struggled with homesickness and sleeping in shared accommodation, we had the confidence to persevere. It was in this disparity that I first recognised the importance of a Bradfield education; the College took children with a wide range of abilities and educated them to be able to make a positive contribution to society.