Received from David Riach | Added to the site MArch 2022.
This year marks fifty years since I entered Cotswold Community, and, I don`t know why but something drew my memory back to the two years I spent there. I started remembering the staff and a few of the boys I was there with. I looked up online to see if there was any information about the old school and came across your name, which, spiked a few tears to be honest. I know it was my own fault but leaving Cotswold Community was a very sad day for me.
I have compiled a list of the staff I can still remember, can you remember some of these I wonder?
- Derek Nimmo – House manager at the time of my arrival
- Hugh Smith – Arrived around the same time as myself, He was from New Zealand
- Trevor Blewett – House manager after Derek
- Barry Rogers – Engineering and Metalwork over in the Poly
- Fred Green – Painting and Signwriting In the poly and also in charge of canoe trips
- Marion Whitmore – Cooking and Needlework in the Poly
- Andy Smale – Used to run the birds and small animals section in the Poly
- Mr (Jack) Jones – Building Teacher
- Christine Bradley – Was like a Mum to me
- Merlyn Chesterman – I think she was Christines understudy
- Nick Benfield – House manager of The Cottage?
- Richard Balbernie – Principal
- Mike Jinks – Vice principal.
When I left Cotswold Community, I had a short spell at Tennal Assessment centre in Harbourne, Birmingham. and from there I went to Boreatton Park school in Baschurch near Shrewsbury, it was an 18th century Stately Home at one time and came with a few ghosts, it was set atop a hill and very bleak. It was very much along the same lines as Cotswold Community but really wasn`t as good, I didn`t enjoy my time there half as much as Cotswold Community, Cotswolds holds a special place in my heart.
Well, I left Boreatton after approximately 18 months and went into employmen as an apprentice Carpenter, but didn`t last very long, I then went to work at a small Steel Strip company operating various machines until I passed my driving test (cars) and then went into transport and have been there ever since.
I married my first wife in 1982 the day after my 25th birthday and had three children two girls and a boy, I have 5 grandchildren fron the girls but my son hasn`t had any children yet. Sadly that marriage dissolved in 2000, but remarried again in 2005 to a Black Country girl and living in Willenhall, Wolverhampton. My wifes daughter from her previous marriage got married in August last year and I was lucky enough to walk her down the aisle, such a proud moment and at Christmas gave my wife and I the news that she is expecting in August, so that will be grandchild No 6.
Well John, that has brought my story roughly up to date, but I have some very very fond memories of my early teens at Cotswold Community. It is such a shame that it had to close, because people like you and others like you who dedicated their lives for the benefit of youngsters like I was, you are unsung heroes and have my deepest respect.
With Kindest Regards