A former pupil has written about his memories of Halton Holegate School in a new book.
Former pupil Simon Leak has written the book based on memories of the local school which he attended between 1969 and 1972.
About the inspiration for his book Simon said: “My days there seemed unremarkable, forgettable even until a few years ago when I started to recall little snippets of life at Halton and other schools that I attended. I remembered being tasked to go up into the attic above the cloakrooms to trap mice and my friend and I concealing a tin box each with ‘treasures’ and messages that we hoped would be discovered by boys in the future, perhaps in the year 2000 when people would surely be living in space and hovering around in silent craft. “
I remembered being tasked to go up into the attic above the cloakrooms to trap mice and my friend and I concealing a tin box each with ‘treasures’ and messages that we hoped would be discovered by boys in the future.Author Simon Leak
With this in mind Simon contacted the school and was invited back to talk to the children about school in the ‘olden’ days and was allowed to squeeze back into the tiny attic space to search for the ‘treasure’.
During his return Simon promised to write down a tale or two about life at school and now several years later the result, almost by accident is a book that recounts a few tales, reveals the personalities, activities and a feel for the fabric of the school and schooling in general in the 60’s and early 70’s.
Regarding his school years and the more modern facilities now in place Simon remarked “School was grey and boring in my time. The smell of carbolic soap, the uselessness of ‘Izal’ toilet paper and the pointless trips to Grimsby docks are recalled in the book as are the seasonal activities outside of lessons such as fishing and football, conker fighting and sliding on ponds and the hazards of playing with mortar bombs and bullets. But my visit found the Halton school of today to be vibrant and colourful and bursting with energy and activity and it’s all very, very different. Technology and Ofsted inspections have played their part of course but credit must also be given to the dedication and professionalism of the teachers and staff and the investment in general in our children’s education.”
The second part of the book sees Simon going back through the schools’ extensive school diaries – dating from its’ founding and a year by year evolutionary account of the school – featuring the ailments and illnesses, labour on farms and local fairs and events that ensured absences were commonplace and – of course – the coming of two world wars, electricity, flushing toilets and telephones that shaped the school as we know it today.
Did Simon manage to find the tins of treasure in the attic? You will have to buy the book and find out! The book is available directly from Halton school with hopefully a small profit for the school fund.
For anyone who knew Simon after leaving the school he went to Spilsby Franklin and from there, bristling with no qualifications, went on to work in a land gang before 5 years labouring on a local farm. For a break from the hardship and poverty of farming he joined the Parachute Regiment intending it to be a temporary spell of three years but ended up serving for 24. He eventually settled in Hereford and now lives in a restored cottage with a small family and border terrier called Millie!