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Balshaws Reunion (1974)
Since I'm 4500 miles away, I haven't had a lot of interest in BGS reunions. Getting to them tends to be a bit pricey. I took "O"-levels in 1957, and gave up on Balshaw's idea of "higher education" after a couple of terms of Mr. Wilkinson trying to teach Pure Mathematics and Applied Mathematics. I can't honestly remember who taught Lower VI Physics. Prure maths, Applied maths and Physics were my three "specialist" subjects, since I wanted to be an engineer. I never had any career advice from Mr. Downer, who regarded engineers as the lowest possible life-for.

I do remember that vicious, red-haired SOB who "taught" French, which was one of the required "minor" subects, but can't remember his name.

I have pleasant memories of French with Miss Milroy and Miss Bromley in the lower forms, but they didn't do 6th form.

I guess I would be classified as a 1957 graduate (the year of my O-levels) so next year is their 50th anniversary reunion. Don't think I'll be there.


Balshaws always had an aura of the C of E, but it wasn't "official". Once the compehensive school movement started, I think they formally declared the school's religious ties to prevent getting caught up in the mess. I'm not sure our staunchly Methodist parents would have sent us there if it had been formally defined back then as a C of E school (and damn right too!). Maybe we'd have gone to Hutton (you and I) and Penwortham (Jean).

Incidentally, all four of our children are going to a "homecoming" football game at their old high school tonight. They range in age from 41 to 34. All the old students attending will be introduced to the crowd and will march with the band. Interestingly, our eldest granddaughter is in the marching band at the school and is being taught by the same teacher our kids had. The teacher is really pleased that Devon is his first "grandstudent" - a student whose parent was in one of his classes.

Frank Damp (wife Eileen, nee Nixon)
Leyland resident 1941-1965, emigrated to the US in 1968,
retired to Anacortes, Washington State, USA in 1999.
If the old Balshaw's was a quasi-CofE school, how come the staunch Methodist Ruby Kelly was chair of the governors for donkey's years, and as far as I can remember the vicar of St Andrew's wasn't even on the board of governors?

Would the red-haired SOB have been Mr Wilcock (or Wilcox)? As to Mr Downer, our so-called careers master, I remember going to tell him I'd dropped one A-level and was only going to sit two. "Oh, dear," he replied, "banking or the civil service, then, I suppose". Some advice!
Colin - I think it was Wilcox. Eileen was in his classes also, and disliked him intensely.

Since my Lower 6th subjects were Pure maths, Applied Maths and Physics to match requirements to be an engineer, I couldn't figure why I had to take French at all. After 5 years of it, with good terachers like Miss Milroy and Brom, I was fairly fluent. It would've made sense to do another European langauge if a timetable filler subject was needed.

Balshaw's never did figure out how to handle an engineer wannabe.

Frank Damp (wife Eileen, nee Nixon)
Leyland resident 1941-1965, emigrated to the US in 1968,
retired to Anacortes, Washington State, USA in 1999.
Your right Frank, I had to ask Vic Oldland for time off to go for interviews at UKAEA and was told 'no, you cannot have time off for that kind of job'. I went anyway and got 3 nights detention every time I went for an interview, some encouragement. I got my apprenticeship and never really looked back.
If the SOB was Wilcox, he was dark haired greying as I recall, but certainly a nasty piece of work. He grabbed hold of my face one day and squeezed one of my cheeks as hard as he could while calling me a "mugwump".
Can't see that happening these days.

Older, dark-haired and greying would be Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilcox was 40-ish with slicked-back red hair (but NOT Keith Smith). He first arrived at Balshaw's when I was in 5th (56/57 school year), I think, maybe after Miss Milroy retired? Mr. Wilson taught Maths and History, among others.

Frank Damp (wife Eileen, nee Nixon)
Leyland resident 1941-1965, emigrated to the US in 1968,
retired to Anacortes, Washington State, USA in 1999.
I think I remember Wilson, Frank. Didn't he speak with quite a posh accent and was rather effeminate and eccentric. I remember him chasing a wasp around the class-room with those long window poles with the hooks on. Wilkinson was the maths teacher/photographer/bad tempered chess player and Wilcox ( what a lot of W's there were in the male teachers ) would have been 40 ish, I must have forgotten what colour his hair was but I'm sure this chap I'm thinking of took French and was rather a nasty piece of work at times. Miss Milroy a really pleasant lady, I think retired after my first year there which would have been 57 when I started, 1958 i guess. I'll have a lok at the school photo to see if I can identify who I think is/was Mr Wilcox
There, now isn't that him sat between Keith Smith and Wilson?

I'm second row down, 4 from the left, on the extreme left of that row 3 boys away from me is Brian "Tosh" Forshaw, who doesn't remember me.[:p]
Was it not Mr Winstanley who was the maths teacher who always made the punishment fit the crime ( with apologies to G & S) I remember the whole maths set having to do a 50 line essay on 'honesty is the best policy even in mathematics' because we never asked for our homework on sports day LOL
Yep, you'd be bigger than him now- and he's probably dead! XX

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