The Prescotian Webzine

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1970 Model
  It’s been almost 18 months since I first found out about this fabulous site, and all my good intentions of contributing an article have thus far been unfulfilled.

Until now. Browsing through the new site, I find that three guys from my year, Adrian Hall, Chrissy Morgan and Allan Okell are no longer with us, maybe a timely reminder that it’s time to get something down on paper, or at least on screen, before it’s too late. While Ade was in my form (Kappa, 1966 intake) he wasn’t a close buddy, but Chrissy Morgan was a fine soccer player who played for the school with me, and me and Allan Okell started school at Oliver Lyme Road Infants on the same day in 1959.

 

2003 Model
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That’s probably a good lead in to the first of my reminicences, one that involved Allan, myself and Bugsy, Latin master extraordinaire. Just prior to one of Bugsy’s lessons, Okell and I were horsing around, playing tick or something similarly stupid, when Bugsy walked in, unseen.

He promptly grabbed me and administered three blackboard dusters to the backside, then went for Allan. He was too quick and dropped to his knees and crawled away under the desks. No problem for Bugsy, he dropped and crawled after him! Thirty seconds later, Okell belatedly got his punishment. He had a really infectious giggle did Allan, sad to think he’s gone. Any details anyone?

Interesting to see a pic of Kenny Holt, a former classmate of mine. My memory of Ken was his smoking preference – a small cigar called Sobranie if a recall. Still smokin’ em Ken?

NICKNAMES

Was there anybody at school who didn’t have one? Occasionally there were two, one for general usage and the other for insults. For example, I was, logically, Ged. But on other occasions I was Pigeon, due to my (slightly!) turned in feet. And there were plenty of others! Jimmy Quinn was plain Jimmy, or, if you really wanted to wind him up, Flick. This was the result of a backfired toilet prank when one of Jimmy’s mates (maybe “Slim” Taylor) was in the loo in the new block by the Spencer Briggs Hall, and Jimmy was flicking water over the door. Unfortunately, he managed to flick water onto the lightbulb over Slim’s head, which promptly exploded!

Billy Egan was Cabbage or Finger, both of which sent him round the twist. Cabbage because of his (allegedly) smelly feet, finger because of his habit of holding his little finger out when he was playing soccer. Funny, but I don’t remember Billy making much impact on the soccer field while at PGS, but there were none better in the playground! Those 20-a-side games were always dominated by Billy’s superb skill with a tennis ball, and I always thought that if he could convert that skill to the field, he would have been a pro.

Les Rafferty was Raffo, or if you prefer, Bubble, due to his slightly round frame. I fired an email at him using his nickname a few months back after seeing his address on the site, he replied, “Bl@@dy Hell, haven’t heard from you in 30 years and the first thing you do is insult me!” Sorry Les…

Dave Lawrenson, also known as Loggy, would chase you if you called him Lips. My good mate Dave Allanson, who spent over 20 years here in New Zealand, but now resides in Brisbane, was Ali, but due to the nature of his upturned nose, was Ski Nose, as it resembled one of those ski jump platforms. We still keep in touch, in fact I was over there last month with him. He’s keeping pretty well, and though he did have a hip replacement around 8 years ago, he’s still coaching soccer.

Ellis, can’t remember his first name, was Felix, as in the cat – true, he really did look like him! Dave Duncan was Jug thanks to his protruding ears, or Cancer-guts, thanks to his smoking habit. Jug was some athlete, despite the smoking, and regularly finished in the top two or three in the cross-country. A great goalkeeper and outfield player too, he failed to make the first school team in the first year as the master, Monty I think it was, just put the name “Duncan” on the teamlist after the trials. Unfortunately, Stuart Duncan, a hulking but enthusiastic fullback, persuaded Jug that Monty had picked him, not Dave. It became apparent after the first couple of games that this was not the case, and Jug eventually took his place in the team.

Robbie Astbury, Azzer to all, claimed that he had a white suit that he got off his brother, but nobody got to see it that I know of.

Late arrival Harrison was universally known as Harry-Boff, I’ll leave it to your imagination why. A total loose unit, Harry-Boff was known to appear from beneath floors during lessons, popping up through trapdoors like a magician’s rabbit to the astonishment of teachers and pupils alike.

Other random nicknames include Steven “Bertie” Birchall, Stuart “Diddy” Dyson, Kenny “Eddys” Edwards, David “Pear” Flynn, Kevin “Gawpy” Gorman, Ken “Bill” Grundy, Keith “H.E. Skin” Heskin, Dave “Jammy” Janes (who married my wife’s best mate), Ian “Loz” Lawrenson, who got hit by a car one summer on St Helens Road, Nigel “Nudge” MacDonald, Terry “Tex” McDonnell, super smooth Skin who owned a scooter, Robert “Piggy” Parmley, Robert “Sam” Strettle, Geoff “Suggy or Skyworm” Sumner, Ian “Slim” Taylor, Alan “Pussy” Towers, Keith “Spot” Watson, plus some assorted Woodies.

THE STIRLING TWINS

I first met George and Gordon in the first year at Prescot Primary School, and found out an interesting fact – I was younger than George, but older than Gordon, George born at 8.45pm on 7th November 1954, myself at 9.10 and Gordon at 9.30. My mum was in the next bed to theirs in Whiston Hospital. I then went to school with them for the next 9 years, with a few adventures along the way. We played soccer together at primary and grammar schools, but there was one day I didn’t want George to play. He’d broken a leg in the first year at PGS, and while we were playing soccer before second dinner sitting, George stood in goal, using his crutches to tackle people. I and the others decided over lunch to tell George he couldn’t play in the second half, but when I approached him after lunch to tell him so, my backing mysteriously disappeared, leaving George, broken leg and all, to give me a smack in the kipper for my cheek!
Gordon and I were pinnie partners at Maisie’s, that is, we clubbed our tanners together to play on the pinball machine. One memorable lunchtime, we “went round the clock” scoring, if my memory serves me correctly, 10,247 points, a record never beaten on that pinnie, which was called “Ducks”.

The third tale involves all three of us in the cross-country round Knowsley Park, at that time, thankfully, uninhabited my wild animals, if you don’t count us. The course took us down to a wood, which we were to circle twice before heading home to the finishing line. We though it would be a real wheeze to dive into the bushes and avoid one of the circuits of the wood. All would have been well if one of the twins hadn’t bowled in about tenth, I wisely finished in the pack, with no pretensions to glory. Unfortunately, an inquiry ensued, and we were dobbed in by some sneaky sod (Evans or Forshaw?), and were summoned to see the head, John Weekes I believe. We decided to brass it out – nobody own up and they can’t prove it, we reasoned. Unfortunately, we cracked, and detentions followed swiftly, although we did avoid the cane.

VARIOUS BEATINGS & MASTERS

As well as the aforementioned Bugsy episode, I remember other incidents of corporal punishment that are no longer with us today (don’t know why, it never did me any harm… etc etc). Joe Kirk, music teacher, used to beat you, then apologise. His lessons were fun though, he really did have a huge enthusiasm for music, and it was always a highlight when he disappeared behind the piano while grinding out “Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel”. The amiable Frank Webster, Twank to most, used to demonstrate high and low pressure by striking one with the flat side of a ruler (low) before taking a slice of the end of your backside (high), and boy did that hurt! I remember Mr Hunter trying the same thing on Gordon Stirling, but on the high pressure demo, managed to hit Goz fair in the cocyx (lower spine to you) rendering him in tears on the floor. Mr Hunter duly panicked.

Alan Stoddart had a couple of implements, which he called Clarence and Claude, I think, which he used to good effect. Tony Hardwick used to chalk a cross on the bottom of a plimsoll, and whack you until the chalk had gone. Fortunately, or some may say unfortunately, it only took one hit, as Tony took something of a run-up while dishing this one out. Always had a lot of time for Tony, he really was on our wavelength.

In the first year (1966) we had a Mr Carter for Latin. If we got noisy, he’d put a line on the blackboard. If we got to five lines on the board, it was detention.

English teacher Mr Thomas had the habit of saying the same thing when he wanted an opinion from somebody. It just happened to be David (DM) Evans from my form. “We-eee-eee-eell, what do you think Evans?” We giggled.

Click Here for Part Two


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