As a child I went to Claremont School for slow learners between the ages of nine and
sixteen. I enjoyed this school as I did more there than mainstream school, as I was
never there. I would be down on the beach collecting sea coal. While I was a pupil there
I took up swimming at Seaton Carew Hall Baths. Mr Sharp, the swimming instructor
decided I was good enough to take the gold medal in lifesaving without having to do the
bronze and silver first. I took the lifesaving test for gold and passed it.
At a gala day Mr Sharp presented me with the gold medal and also the bronze and
silver medal at the same time. Twenty-five years later this event was mentioned in the
Hartlepool Mail and I am going to be included in the 50th anniversary edition. It was
noted that I was the first child with learning difficulties to achieve this award. I went on to
swim for the town regional competitions.
I have been a member of the Buffs of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes since
1975. This is a charitable fundraising organisation and last year I was a Provincial
Grand Primo of the South Durham Province. I am soon to present Claremont School,
now known as Catcote School with a charitable donation.