Homepage 1988 Centenary 1940s to 1950s Biographies
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Carolyn Abbs (Young)

I left Ayton in 1952; attended a secretarial course in Scarborough together with Ann Peirson (Ford). Married, two children, both of whom work for British Airways as cabin staff - their jobs enable them to travel all over the world.

For the past twelve years, I have been working as a Civil Servant in the Unemployment Benefit office in Newton Aycliffe. My job entails a great deal of interviewing, we have recently started an "Enquiry Service" where people can come for advice about the type of benefit and help available to them. At times the job can be a very sad one but there are many times, too, when we are able to see the funny side and have a good laugh. We receive a surprising number of cards at Christmas time from grateful clients, and even the odd bottle of wine.

Michael Adam

Dick Dennis presenting a copy of the 1988 Biographies Booklet to Evelyn Nicholson.After leaving Ayton, I went to Kings College, Newcastle to become versed in agricultural matters and met Henry Pickering who was pursuing similar studies. My first three years in 'digs' were at an International House in which Matt Newton was also resident for a while. Late in 1957, I moved out to Cockle Park, the college farm just north of Morpeth for a period of two years, where I was involved with the nutrition of calves.

I moved back into Newcastle and was married to Barbara in 1960. Once again it was back to work at Cockle Park whilst renting an old cottage at Long Horsley and then finally we moved to Morpeth. This time it was pigs that received my attention, for a period of five years. In late 1964 I managed to leave college behind to enter the job market armed with the appropriate qualifications.

I spent all of 1964 looking for jobs, so too did another old scholar, John Watson, sadly no longer with us. He and I seemed to apply for the same jobs, but doubt that John was aware of the situation since he generally got the first interview. There were lots of interviews! In 1985, I managed to obtain a job in New Zealand and we set sail one cold, sleet-driven day in January from Southampton with our twin daughters and a son. The latter proved that homo sapiens need not be erect to travel widely inside a passenger ship. The inability to walk at the start of the voyage gave way to a jaunty nautical walk before we reached Wellington.

I have been an agricultural research officer for the New Zealand Government for many years and the 1970s saw me travel to Australia many times and also to the Philippines on an assignment for the World Bank Tropical heat is an experience never to be forgotten and travel certainly broadened my mind - when I saw how the less well off 'lived' - if that is what it could be called. When I returned to Britain on a visit in 1980 I was not too mobile, having just ruptured my achilles tendon and was confined in a plaster cast.

In our spare time, we raise a wide variety of berries and fruit trees and we have just raised 45 calves from the herd of red deer on our small farm of thirteen acres.

Derek "Barny" Barnes

I left Ayton in 1952 and spent the next four years with an electrical engineering company, and at Wigan Technical College studying for a City and Guilds in Radio and TV Servicing. I have to thank Bernard Coates for my interest in radio, or "Wireless" construction. I well remember the hours spent with other "wireless" enthusiasts in his Nissen hut, starting with crystal set, progressing on to valves, receiving signals from the ether via coils of wire! all great stuff.

In 1957, I changed direction and went into selling, working with the family business, which involved a wide variety of activities; attending national and area trade exhibitions, supervising area salesmen, sales vehicle management, interviewing and engaging salesmen, and so on.

In 1982 I married Jean, an Ackworth O.S. We have three daughters; Deborah at 26 is the eldest; she was for some while a professional nanny but after "a number of families" gave that up in favour of an office routine, and now lives in Essex. Louise is 24 and has just flown out of the country to take up a post with Horizon Holidays, and the youngest Rachel works in a Birmingham hotel.

I enjoyed visiting Ayton in '85 and meeting the old "new" faces, some of whom have worn very well indeed. I had a short conversation with Ruth Harwood, which was a tonic. She gave me "stage presence" when we gave that mind blowing production of "Fat King Melon" on the open-air theatre. Anyone remember that?

My interest in music, encouraged and coached by Bernard Porter, is still as strong as ever. I still sing in public and was recently part of a charity production of "South Pacific". my other Interests are; motoring, photography, skiing, and of course Radio and TV. technology. For some years, I was involved with the Wigan Round Table, and allied organizations, which took me abroad, notably to Canada on more than one occasion.

I continued to kept in touch for some years with a few of my Ayton friends, notably David Tiffany, Harry Snalam, and Harry Coates, all three of whom live in Canada and visited on the trips previously referred to; I could almost write a book about the good times we had. With a bit of luck I'll get to the Centenary weekend and look forward to renewing a few more old acquaintances.

Jean Benson (Powell)

I left school in 1953 and worked for some years for Boots the Chemists as a dispensing assistant. I met my future husband, Tony, when he was managing one of the branches where I worked; we were married in 1960. We are one of the "Romany" families having lived in various parts of the country as a result of Tony's work which now is Large Store Area Manager for Boots - an excellent way of studying the geography of England! We have been in this most attractive part of the West Midlands, Solihull, for about three years and love the house and its rural setting.

Our two daughters are; Jane 25 who lives in London, and Helen 22 who lives in Croydon.

Recently we acquired a year old English Setter who regularly takes me for long walks; he is lovely but rather lively. My other "hobby" Is Yoga. We enjoy all forms of theatre - I used to be an enthusiastic amateur actress - does Roger Pearson remember our debut in the Amateur Theatre at Stokesley? My mother still lives in Stokesley, so accommodation at reunion time does not present a problem. Quite by coincidence, my mother attended the same school as Arthur's father - small world.

Angela Bradbeer (Gough)

I left school in 1954, married in 1955 and have two children - Iain and Aileen - separated in 1958. I married John Gough in 1962 and now have two further children - Penny and Christopher. John was in teaching for 15 years, during which time I helped to support the family by working for four years on twilight shifts in a jam factory, and doing three years land work, plus bouts as a char and barmaid.

In 1971 I joined the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food as a clerk, since when I was promoted to level of own incompetence! I am currently living in Stanstead and working in London (sounds high powered and very hard work and is to do with the Finance Division of the Civil Service where I regularly lunch with Eddy Thompson.

Dorothy (Biddy) Brown (Stainsby)

I Left Ayton in July 1952 - In the late 1950s I married Richard Stainsby. I worked for many years in the office and shop side of the family business - have spent most of my life living in Northumberland, which is a beautiful County. In 1985 - not long before the original reunion - I moved to my present home in Chathill and have spent much time since trying to organise it to my liking. I recently acquired a dog, definitely a mongrel, which enables me to take long walks in the surrounding countryside.

Last year I had a most welcome visit from Ann Soresby (Window) and her husband and receive regular visits from Betty Murdin, who was a couple of years our junior.


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