My first day at Severn Beach School by Richard Stedman aged 61 and a bit

Yesterday I was asked to write a little bit for our local History Group. They / we are doing a display as part of our Nostalgia day to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the School opening. I, of course, was happy to do this and this is what I wrote.

In September 1969 I was 10 years old and in my last year at Junior School before we went up to Patchway. That last year was a very special year for all of us who were the oldest pupils in our brand new school. It felt like it had been built especially for us. When we walked through the front doors on our first day I can remember some things as if it were yesterday, not fifty years ago.

It was squeaky clean. By that I remember the floors in the main hall would squeak as we walked across them for the very first time. To be fair we were also squeaky clean, because our Mums had made sure we started with the new school clothes. I stared around the hall and everything looked totally brand new. I wanted to be the first to climb up the wall bars, the first to kick the footballs that I knew must be in that store cupboard. I wanted to be the first to score a goal at break time in the playing field. At Pilning we had to carry the goal posts from the school and put them up before a game and now we had a proper pitch marked out on a field that was right next to the school. We even had a cricket square that Mr Beasant looked after all year so we could play properly on it.

In our first assembly Mr Tapp told us to look after the school as best that we could. Then we were put into our classes. We were the top juniors so we got what looked like the best class. It was upstairs and we either had to be taught by Mrs Fraser or Mr Griffiths. We were sat in alphabetical order so I had to sit next to Clive Simmons. He liked drawing tractors for fun. Even those new classroom smelt and looked better than the ones we had left behind in Pilning. No more were we going to temporary “Terrapins” in the playground which stank of oil fires and damp. We now had clean tables without names carved into them. For the first time we had a proper football kit when we played for the school team. Mr Griffiths was an Everton fan so he chose a kit that had royal blue and yellow. I would have preferred blue and white and definitely not red but at least it was a proper matching kit and we all wore the same.

There were some things that were exactly the same. The food was like the stuff we had at Pilning. We could tell what day it was by what was for school dinners. Squashed fly pudding and concrete custard with prunes were not the best. We also had the same metal cups for drinking squash but now they were brand new and not all dented and scratched. We also had our old friends from Pilning School who lived in Severn Beach and Hallen. I was going to miss my Pilning friends but we would all meet again when we went to Patchway. When we were at Pilning we used to catch the bus to Pilning every morning. We would all meet at the stop opposite the chip shop and race to get the front seat upstairs. Now I could just walk two minutes from my home in Albert Road and be home straight after school. Not that I went home quickly after school because I wanted to be there as long as possible doing everything that we could do. We had choirs where Mr Tapp conducted us. We did plays in the school hall and did a big production of Jesus Christ Superstar and the Jungle Book. As well as all that and more importantly we had a school football team that beat every one; even the big schools in Patchway.

We were really lucky to have that year At Severn Beach. My younger brothers would have longer and in later years my nephews and nieces also went to the school. It is quite possible that your grand-parents would have been in the same class as me.

Here are some names I can remember from that class:-

Hazel Miller

Hazel Meachin

Colin Done

Jemma Done

Chris Thompson

Clive Elliott

Ian Barton

Clive Simmons

Phillip Hutton

Susan Williams

Suzanne Priestley

Andy Hallett

George Shufflebottom

Tina Stutter

Danny Dawkins

Clare Hollyman

Tom Webb

John McLeod

Debbie Leaver

David Dalton

Maureen Smith

Sarah Pick

Debbie Porter

Our Nostalgia day is this Saturday, October 19th at Severn Beach Village Hall from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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