I was not born on the IOW but arrived during Cowes Week of 1958 because my father had joined the Prison Service at Parkhurst. My first school was Parkhurst Junior in Albany Road, just off Honeyhill in buildings which are now the Island Learning Centre. I was fortunate to pass the 11+ and therefore attended Carisbrooke Grammar School from September 1959 graduating up through Forms 1b to 5b.
I was not particularly studious and struggled to attain the 6 ‘O’ Levels that I achieved with modest grades. My main interests during those years were sport related which distracted me from the need to study. I did however move up to the 6th Form and managed to pass my three ‘A’ Levels with fairly good grades, much to my surprise.
My father was transferred off the Island in early 1966 and my parents left the Island on 1 May 1966 so the last three months whilst I continued at Carisbrooke to take my ‘A’ levels was spent living with another family at Parkhurst. After leaving Carisbrooke in July 1966 I spent the summer holidays working at the Little Canada Holiday Village in Wootton, as I had the previous summer. I eventually left the Island on 4 September 1966.
The very next day I started my banking career with Midland Bank at Eastleigh branch near Southampton. I spend 10 years in the Southampton area before gaining my first appointment to Stroud branch in Gloucestershire as a Branch Accountant. Further appointments followed in Gloucestershire and Bristol before I became a (traditional but now long extinct) Bank Manager in 1985 at Corn Street Bristol branch. I was later transferred to the Cheltenham Area in 1987 where I worked as a Business Banking Manager, Corporate Banking Manager and lastly a return to Branch Management. During this time Midland Bank was taken over to become part of the HSBC Banking Group. I retired from banking on 31 January 2002. I have lived near Cheltenham for 30 years.
Apart from some invigilating work for the Institute of Bankers and some time spent at the local Senior School helping out with finance, I have enjoyed the pleasures of a fairly long retirement improving my golf handicap and taking several holidays a year. I have been happily married for 46 years and have a son who lives in the USA, with two granddaughters, and a daughter who lives near Southampton.
It was after a family holiday to the Island during the Easter holidays in 1987 that I began to wonder how my former school colleagues had faired. So armed with a list of ‘A’ Level results from the 1966 summer exams which my mother had cut out from the County Press, my old hymn book (which many of you will no doubt remember signing each others during those last few days at Carisbrooke), and a copy of the local telephone directory which I had obtained courtesy of Midland Bank, Newport branch, I started the long haul of locating as many of the 6th formers as possible, initially telephoning their parents. An early success was to discover that David Charman lived some 10 miles from me and also worked locally in Gloucestershire. I therefore contacted him and arranged a lunch meeting to seek his opinion if a re-union would be of interest. He agreed and therefore over the next three years or so and with the help of others I had managed to trace and who were very keen to be involved, the first re-union was arranged in Newport in July 1971 to celebrate our leaving Carisbrooke 25 years earlier. A visit to the school was also arranged.
In all I had located almost 100 former school colleagues and 14 teachers. Of these over 50 attended that first re-union and 2 teachers also came. Quite a few others confirmed that they would have liked to come but the date was inconvenient. It was interesting to note that many lived beyond UK shores. At that time I also discovered that six of our former teachers had passed away.
Thereafter we have had a further two re-unions and I am grateful that Carol Owen (nee Edmunds) and Janet Yates took over the reigns in organising these. The next re-union is scheduled for 2021 and I look forward to attending. Whilst some have suggested it be perhaps away from the Island, I personally feel that only the Island can do justice to such an event.
I have retained the lists I compiled of former school friends and teachers so if anyone would like a copy please contact me by email.
Although only living on the Island for eight years and since 1966 having no direct association with it, I have nevertheless retained a fondness for it. There are so many things about the Island that I am regularly drawn to visit it and it never seems to disappoint.